What’s Going On Wednesday: Simple, Joy Filled Week

After dreading a week of being stuck in the school office, a scheduling error and I find myself out in the classroom all week after all. A happy way to start my Monday!

Lots of fun, simple joys this week. However, it appears there’s still a pandemic raging so first the yucky stuff.

Numbers and COVID-19 Info for Our Area

Cases statewide:   36,063

Total deaths:  1,159

Total Tested*

PCR tested:  589,460 (fancy term for nasal swab testing)

Serology tested:  55,622 (fancy term for blood test for antibodies)

*They’ve changed the reporting on these numbers. Now dividing out the two types of tests. Actually, the whole website is updated and in a dashboard format. A lot easier to read and understand.

In the Kansas City Area:  4,102 and 42 deaths

Our local county: 2,115 and 47 deaths

And the number of cases within our zip code:  275

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Gratitude For Moments of Simple Joy This Week…

At work:

The amazing imagination of these kids. There’s a patch of low ground-cover weeds by the back entrance to one of the classrooms and as we waited to go inside, they discussed what it might be…

On our rainy Monday, it was cilantro. And on another soggy Tuesday, it became seaweed. Made me smile. (Didn’t get a chance to hear what it turned into today)

The gift of an oranges from one of the teachers to the other teachers in the classroom (including me). Smelled so nice and tasted great. A wonderful surprise!

Seeing hummingbirds “in the wild” while on my break. First I spotted one sipping on the trumpet vines at the park. Then, I spotted one on the Zinnias growing near the back entrance.

A chance to shout Helicopter! as loud as possible on the playground when one flew overhead.

At Home

The sound of a summer thunderstorm after a heat advisory weekend.

Sitting on the back deck and watching the backyard birds with the cat (though I did have to run in for mosquito repellent! Yikes, time to search for standing water).

Seeing the sky return to a brilliant blue with fluffy white clouds after two days of rain. (Yes, the heat returned as well. No advisories. Just a typical July 90 degree day)

A box of Bomb pops in the freezer.

J showing me a funny video. (I’ll have to find the link, it involved turn signal use. I may or may not have a problem always using mine. Pleading the 5th.)

G willing to run and pick up dinner (just McDonald’s) after we all had rather hot, long days at work.

Picking out a color for our bedroom remodel.

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What small simple things brought you joy so far this week?

 

 

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, Evening Edition

Monday is just about done (for me) but I still wanted to take a minute for the weekly planning post. Overall, it’s been a nice, quick, and busy Monday!

Now, one last evening task, to join in with the link up hosted by Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. I do find it helps my week to have a plan (even if I don’t always follow it!)

Headings in Royal Blue tonight as baseball is back! Just a nice minute of happiness and normalcy to even hear them talking about it on the news.

The Weather 

Clouds moving in after a heat advisory type weekend

 

Fairly nice out after a rainy start. The rain cooperated a bit as well. Preschool kids had their outdoor morning time, came in just before it poured. Stopped long enough for us to go outside before lunch, came in once again just before another downpour. Sunny in the afternoon. Highs in the mid to upper 80’s/low 90’s for most the week. 81 degrees right now but not bad out at all.

How I’m Feeling This Morning Evening

Tired! Busy day at work, dressed to be in the office but ended up (happily) in the classroom and outside instead. Came home and basically turned back around to take J to his baritone lesson.

On My Mind

A bit of concern about school in the fall, just heard marching band may not happen. Hard to see the things your kids feel passionately about get cancelled and put on hold. Understand the reason but still hard. Hoping they can get creative to find a way for these kids.  On a different mind “browser” wondering if I’m in the office or classroom tomorrow (a bit of a misunderstanding, hoping it’s the classroom again!).  And on the third tab, just all the to do list things…

On My To Do List

  1. Pay bills
  2. Go to grocery store (going to pay the price of procrastination tomorrow morning, coffee without milk. Ugh)
  3. Order on-line from Target all the things I forgot when I went “in person”
  4. Finish up laundry (most of it is done)
  5. Write blog posts
  6. Pick up camera/practice with phone camera as well/post 1 photo a day on Instagram

On My Breakfast Dinner Plate 

Breakfast is always the same boring thing on workdays (Chobani Flip yogurt & coffee). Dinner tonight was pretty “gourmet”. I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich on toast!

On My Reading Pile

I started a new Donna Ashcroft book, Summer at the Castle Cafe. Not very far into it but enjoying it so far. Just a nice, summer romance, escape from the world type story.

TV Viewing

“Stupid but entertaining” My answer when J asked how my movie was as I watched Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again. (interesting in that it’s a sequel/prequel kind of movie, enjoyed it more once I figured that out). “Seems to be a theme with things you like” His response. Guilty as charged.

After giving me trouble for watching Married At First Sight, husband started watching Naked and Afraid. Then, laughed and said a good show would be to merge the two. Ha! Anyway, watched a few episodes of that with him.

On The Menu This Week

Definitely need to do better than tonight…

MONDAY: husband had pulled pork (leftover from weekend grilling), boys ate grilled cheese, and I had a peanut butter. *I worked 8:30-4:30* *J had a baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Cilantro lime chicken and salad (already marinated chicken from store in freezer, just need to throw on the grill) *I work 8:30-4:30*

WEDNESDAY: Beef and broccoli, rice or salad, maybe jello for dessert? *I work 8:30-4:30*

THURSDAY: chicken legs on grill, corn *I work 8:30-4:30*

FRIDAY: OUT *I work 8:30-4:30* *Husband and boys have nephew’s graduation*

**subject to change after grocery shopping/depending on my days/the weather/etc**

From The Camera

We’re making progress on the never-ending (it might actually be getting closer!) bedroom remodel.  My husband moved some things around, re-arranged the bedroom. And I immediately claimed this corner for a reading nook. I can just see it!

Even decorated a tiny bit just to get a feel.  Still needs painted although sunlight makes room look a new color but it’s still just primed sheet rock.

Another chair…new rocker for outside!

And finally, still on the new theme…new fairy door near base of one of the backyard maple trees!

Looking Around The House

See word “remodel” above. We’re not even gonna look around the house. It’s a mess and frankly, it’s gonna stay a mess all week long most likely.

On My Prayer List

Preschool director’s husband. His cancer (was in remission) has returned. And he’s currently hospitalized with an infection in his hand and unable to start chemotherapy until they figure that out. All the kids (and teachers) at school love him as he often helps out with projects. Please pray and send good vibes for his healing and the cancer to leave him again.  And for his family to have strength during such a trying time.

Quote For The Week

Sometimes you gotta take a break from all the noise to appreciate the beauty of silence. (Robert Tew)

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Time to wrap this post up and go to bed! What does your week ahead look like?

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small blog/media note: I finally got a new phone. How old was your old phone, Jean? So old that I couldn’t remember my Instagram password and the reset went a very old e-mail. I made a new account. So if you followed me previously, please click the button on the sidebar (it’s updated) over there to follow the new account or just click here. I’d love to follow you back as well since I had to start fresh and can’t remember all the Instagram names/not to mention the search function on that app is a headache. My goal is to post a photo a day over there. Thanks!

 

 

Variety of Backyard Birds

Enjoyed the antics of a wide range of our backyard birds this week! Even spotted some birds I’d not seen hanging around our yard in a while.

The house finches are regular customers at the backyard feeders but I don’t always get to see the tufted titmouse. Rare to see it sitting still and so close to a house finch as well.

Tufted-Titmouse

Usually have to try and capture quick snaps of them as they hurry to and from the bird feeder. The one above stopped briefly on the fence.  Speaking of stopping briefly…

Ruby-throated hummingbird

This bird’s been taunting me. Likes to sit on a wire that runs across our backyard. And about the time I notice it, fly over to take a quick sip from the feeder before zooming away.

Though it doesn’t show in the shots above, the throat on this little bird is as bright (maybe brighter) than the color of this…

Cardinal

He’s been hanging out at the neighbor’s yard. I think he likes their food better than ours. Right on the post above him sat a…

Robin

It was odd how I was thinking that I’d not seen many robins lately, looked up and saw one sitting on the post! Two other feathered friends I’d not seen in a while also came to visit:

Carolina Wren

and a…

White-breasted Nuthatch

I sat outside on our deck with evening approaching (and my furry cat assistant by my side) for most of these pictures.

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We also enjoy just watching the bird antics:

I think I’m turning my youngest son into a bird-watcher as well. He often goes to the backdoor now, looks out and reports what birds he sees. Heard him laughing one day, he said the silly chickadee was trying to eat out of the hummingbird feeder. Sorry I missed that one. I did enjoy watching the silly little chickadee challenge the downy woodpecker on the suet feeder. Guess who won that match? I’ll give you a hint. It was not the chickadee.

Before I end my post, I  wanted to thank Phil from Another Bird Blog for his advice last week about speeding up the ISO setting on my camera. Motivated me to take my camera off the “bird watching” auto setting and see what happened. Reminded me I bought the bridge camera to learn all the “fancy” stuff in the first place.

Finally, a few other birds spotted but not pictured from the week (not all were in the backyard): turkey vultures, chickadees, sparrows, starlings, mourning doves, Eurasian collared dove (this morning!), and oddly enough, a little goldfinch singing away in the tree I parked by at Target today. What birds did you spot this week?

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

 

 

 

 

Five On Friday: Current Summer Lovin’

Have I ever mentioned I love summer? I think I probably have on more than once. My friend, Rebecca and I even did a whole 30 days of summer series two years ago.

Since this is the last Friday I’ll be off work for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d share 5 of my current summer loves. Some are “regular” summer loves and some are just things I’ve discovered this summer. I love summer so much coming up with five things was easy. This post easily could have been Ten on Friday.

And yes, I do also love the Summer Lovin’ song from Grease. Whole movie really.

Five of My Summer Loves

ONE: My pink and gray camouflage sandals.

G had some slide sandals he’d leave by the front door that I borrowed to run outside (usually to throw an unwilling cat inside for the night). Loved them enough that I wanted my own pair. I bought these 2-3 years ago in Oklahoma while on a shopping trip with our late aunt. So not only do they make my feet happy in the summer, they also remind of a happy memory.

And I admit, I live in these during the summer if I’m at home. (They aren’t good driving shoes so I do change into tennis shoes for running errands, work, etc)

TWO: The abundance of fresh produce 

My mom and dad always had fresh fruit on the counter and so I tend to do the same. I did pull a few of things out of the fridge for this photo. One of my husband’s clients bought too many cherries and shared her surplus with us (lots more in the fridge!). My sister-in-law shared some extra zucchini. On today’s agenda, cherry compote, cutting up the watermelon, and figuring out what to do with the strawberries and zucchini. I’ll probably have a nectarine as a snack later. What’s your favorite summer fruit or veggie?

Three: Fun, Seasonal Local Finds

Our Hy-Vee carries a selection of local products (and produce as available) in the summer. I always enjoy finding new favorites like this blueberry lemonade from a local orchard (they’re mainly known for apples and I tend to buy their apple cider until I can no longer find it). 

Throwing some blueberries and strawberries in a glass of this makes a fun summer drink. G prefers the strawberry lemonade version. If you’re local, both are worth checking out.

Four: One For The Cozy Lovers, This Watermelon Lemonade Candle

Seasonal candle scents are a thing with me lately. I wasn’t sure I’d like this as sometimes food/drink scents can be overwhelming. However, this one is just subtle enough. It’s a bit of a change from the beach scents that I usually put out in the summer. And I like that I can use it until I switch over to something apple in September.

Five: Watching the butterflies, birds, and flower garden insects

The cat and I enjoy our early mornings and evenings on the deck watching the birds as they visit the feeders. No photo but I spotted a baby dragonfly hanging out near my flowers yesterday!

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What are your current summer favorites?

Also, a small blog/media note: I finally got a new phone. How old was your old phone, Jean? So old that I couldn’t remember my Instagram password and the reset went a very old e-mail. I made a new account. So if you followed me previously, please click the button on the sidebar (it’s updated) over there to follow the new account or just click here. I’d love to follow you back as well since I had to start fresh and can’t remember all the Instagram names/not to mention the search function on that app is a headache. My goal is to post a photo a day over there. Thanks!

 

What’s Going On Wednesday: How About A Recipe?

I missed a what’s going on post last week. Super busy week. In a good way. However, I do want to keep up with these posts. Look to the bottom of the post for an easy cucumber salad recipe.

Let’s get the yuck numbers out of the way first. Hoping I’ll still be able to find these numbers. I try not to get political around here but let’s just say I’m super opposed to this new give the numbers to the white house and not the CDC stuff. Maybe they’ll give the numbers to both. I sure hope so.

Numbers and COVID-19 Info for Our Area

Cases statewide:   29,714

Total deaths: 1,102

Total Tested*

PCR tested:  517,947 (fancy term for nasal swab testing)

Serology tested:  51,446 (fancy term for blood test for antibodies)

*They’ve changed the reporting on these numbers. Now dividing out the two types of tests. Actually, the whole website is updated and in a dashboard format. A lot easier to read and understand.

In the Kansas City Area:  3,294 and 36 deaths

Our local county: 1,681 and 35 deaths

And the number of cases within our zip code:  228

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Been a fairly regular summer week despite the odd pandemic times. A Monday spent at home. Yesterday and today at work (just a half day today). We’re going to go have cake and ice cream for my nephew’s birthday later (we passed on dinner out).

Had a very “2020” experience with my pink petunias yesterday. I arrived home to find them missing: 

Then, I found them. SIGH. No idea what happened.

Picked them up threw them back in the pot and we’ll see if they make a comeback. Then, I went inside and drowned my sorrows in cold cucumber salad.

Here’s a super easy summer recipe for you. Minimal ingredients and just a bit of marinating time.

Cucumber Salad

My late mother-in-law used to make this. I loved it when she had this on the table. Always ate too many servings. It’s a great summer side. It complimented yesterday’s dinner of fish (from a box, I’m not that fancy) really well.

Did I mention this was super easy? Slice up some cucumbers. Layer with slices of red onion. Don’t skip the onion. It gives the salad some pizzazz and color. Plus cuts down on the sweet.

I don’t like cold onions either. Just eat around them when it’s finished. Once you’ve sliced the cucumbers and layered them with the red onion slices, pour on the marinate. Another easy one. 

Mix one cup of rice vinegar with one cup of sugar. Done. See photo above. You don’t even have to clear off your counters to make it!  (You may need to adjust quantities based on how many cucumbers you slice. I used two in my salad and ended up using 1 1/2 vinegar to 1 1/2 sugar. Make sure the liquid covers the cucumber mix.)

Pour mixture over cucumbers & onions. Seal container and refrigerate. I’d suggest overnight but a few hours should work if you can’t wait. Then, enjoy!

What’s going on in your world this week?

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