Happy Homemaker Monday, Mid-Month

A little shocked to realize it’s already mid-September. When exactly did that happen?

I’ve been a bit all over the place this morning trying to get a few things done. Since it’s already after 9 AM, thought it time to start my post!

Joining in as usual with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Happy Homemaker Monday link up.  Let’s just get straight to it. (I noticed she changed up a few categories so I am following suit).

First, as always we look at…

The Weather 

After a week of cold, gloom, and rain, we’re getting a week of pretty much perfection. Sunny and in the upper 70’s to low 80’s all week long. Sold! Hope it helps the garden items grow. 

How I’m Feeling This Morning

Tired. Didn’t sleep well thanks to a certain teenager who woke me up by being too loud on a video game about midnight. And again when I woke up as the angry “GO TO BED!” parent a bit later. Being tired makes it hard to focus on the things I need to do as well. Certain video game system may find a special bed in our room tonight.

On My Mind

A little bit of everything. Dealing with teenager mentioned above (The high school student. Thankfully, the college student is usually pretty quiet and considerate late at night.). Cleaning and errands I need to accomplish this week. An upcoming trip with my husband (delayed from March) that now interferes with on-line work training I just signed on to do. Always something!

On My To Do List

  1. Pay Bills
  2. Usual House Cleaning and Laundry
  3. Fall Countdown Cleaning (If you’re following along, let’s just make today another catch up day)
  4. Camera homework for free on-line course. Need to look at lesson again, did not understand it.
  5. Grocery store/maybe Target/general shopping/still want to get bulbs but need to find somewhere they don’t sell in crazy bulk amounts. Thanks Home Depot but I don’t need 50 daffodil bulbs at a time!

On My Breakfast Plate

Cinnamon swirl bagel with butter and of course, coffee. Always coffee.

On My Reading Pile

I finished The Son and Heir: A Memoir by Alexander Munninghoff last week. Still on a bit of a reading frenzy.

Thank goodness for the Kindle Unlimited as it’s helping me not miss the library as much. However, I do very much miss going in the library and browsing the shelves. More than I’d ever thought. Miss seeing the “new and notable” section, wandering over to the librarian suggests shelves (found lots of great reads that way) and walking among the shelves to see what peaks my curiosity.

Moving on, here are the other 3 books I read last week. Funny thing, I accidentally downloaded The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith but found I enjoyed it. So, I went ahead and read the sequel, The Glamourist.  Not quite as enjoyable as it read a bit more like Harry Potter fan fiction set in France. Still timely a timely read for the fall and I’ll probably read the 3rd in the series once it’s released.

The final book I read over the weekend was The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts (Riverside Lane #1) by Alison Sherlock.  Ideally, I should have read it during the gloomy, rainy days instead of over a sunny weekend. A perfect light and optimistic read.  It came as a suggestion from a Facebook post shared by How to Hygge the British Way.  

Now, I just need something to read during J’s baritone lesson tonight. I’ll see what mood strikes me later this afternoon.

On My TV

Not all that much. Finished up Cobra Kai on Netflix. Looking forward to the next season.  We watched the movie Aquaman and my husband labeled it underwater Star Wars. I didn’t disagree. Tried a little of some new organizing show called The Home Edit on Netflix as well but prefer “real people” organizing as opposed to seeing celebrity closets. I would’ve preferred another season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo as I think her show had a lot more heart. Not sure I’ll finish the series. Probably go back to Fear The Walking Dead as my laundry folding show today.

On The Menu This Week

My husbands been doing more of the cooking which is nice but makes menu planning hard. He cooks what he wants. If someone else is cooking, I’m not complaining.

Still need a plan just in case.

MONDAY:  Spaghetti and salad *J has a baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork  *I now work 12:30-5* *Mom’s Night Out*

WEDNESDAY: Fish and baked potatoes

THURSDAY: OUT, Quick, or Left Overs *I work 12-3:30* *J has band practice 6:30-8:45*

FRIDAY: Roast in the crock pot? Not sure

LUNCH IDEAS: scrambled eggs, twice-baked potatoes, chicken noodle soup, chicken quesadillas, grilled cheese

From The Camera

Our Sunday project, covering up the ugly part of our front porch. Before and after photos.

Still need to add a bit to the ground but I’m happy with the results of our wall made from reclaimed garden gate wood. Plan for next summer it to plant sunflowers all along the base of it. Not sure what I’ll put in the pots.

Looking Around The House

It’s okay. Not great but not horrid either.

New Recipe I Tried Last Week Or One That We Really Enjoyed

On a whim last week, I made the Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice shared by Tamy at Chasing My Life. Knew I’d like it as I love artichokes but was surprised my husband enjoyed it as well. Got mixed results from J and G wasn’t home. I’d make it again.

To Relax This Week I Will

You’ll find me outside checking on my 100 days to bloom sunflower (pictured above, we’re almost there!), planting bulbs, moving a peony (maybe) from the backyard to a sunnier spot in the front. Visit with friends. Read. Practice with the camera while watching the birds.

Something I Want To Share

We’re not great gardeners and often barely end up with a single serving or two of whatever we tend to plant. However, for those of you who garden to the point of surplus, I stumbled across this interesting information in the August issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  

There’s a site called AmpleHarvest.org that maintains a nationwide directory of food banks who accept fresh produce. If we ever manage to garden to excess, I’ll be checking them out (and I did confirm with our zip code that there are pantries in our area).

On My Prayer List

Family, friends, strangers. The family and friends (strangers to us) of a rather horrible car accident at nearby intersection (one person died).  A peaceful fall and election season. This pandemic to end! Kindness and compassion to return to every day encounters. Positive news to overtake all the negative.

Quote For The Week

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.  (Anne Frank)

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House Finches

I thought for a change of pace, I’d share some photos of our resident house finches. My plan to take photos of them throughout the week didn’t pan out as the weather didn’t cooperate much. Much as my plan to finish this post on Saturday didn’t work either.

Cold, dark, raining, and gloomy most of last week. Still managed a few photos here and there around the clouds.

The house finches were the first birds to find my feeders once I started setting them out. They are patient little birds who wait for me to fill the feeders and put up with the other “guests” arriving at their cafe.

They don’t seem bothered by most of the other birds.

Better at simply waiting their turn, yielding gracefully to the larger (and sometimes smaller) birds at the feeder. That said, they do tend to get into rows within their own little crowds fairly often during the busier days around the feeder.

I find myself talking to them almost as though they were house pets (though I’ll stick with just the cat inside).

Found myself quite relieved to again spot two of my favorites after the recent hawk visit.

Other Backyard Happenings

Trying to keep things kind of short since my post is late. However, before I end I want to share some interesting things I spotted around the feeders last week.

  • Mr hummingbird went over and checked out the suet feeder! I’ve already got the sparrows eating from it (again). Thankfully, he opted to go back to his sentry post and skip the suet.
  • Peace doves? Not so much lately. I watched them sitting on the feeder and fence flapping their wings to shoo off all the other birds.
  • Looked out the window yesterday morning in time to see them all frozen on the ground. And no other birds around as well. I’m sure the hawk hid somewhere close but I never spotted him.
  • And finally, much to my surprise I looked out the front door this morning to see a goldfinch sitting atop the hanger for a basket of mum flowers! My guess is he was more interested in the spent bee balm.

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Other birds spotted this week: a brief glimpse of a blue jay (I hear them more often now), sparrows, chickadees, the tufted titmice, downy woodpeckers, the red-bellied woodpecker, and a brown thrasher!

What birds have you spotted this week?

Joining in with the Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather Be Birdin’.

Cleaning Countdown To Fall: Week 3

A little late this week. Meant to post it yesterday and then, life. It’s been a week around here and yes, I know it’s only Wednesday. Everything is just a bit off kilter around here lately. Or rather around me. Around here, too but mostly I think it’s me.

Everything that could go right is going left. SIGH. I need a reset button.

Cleaning is kind of like a reset button I suppose. Felt better once I cleaned off the kitchen table this morning.  Even added one of my fall touches.

(Note: these are different bananas than the ones in the picture shown below. A whole different set of things to clear off the table today.)

Since I find myself off work today (long story of a yet another scheduling mix up, this one is actually on me but all of last week was on them), time to clean. Are you following along? How did you do last week?

I did okay. I did a much needed clearing and cleaning of the outside (and the top!) of the fridge rather than the inside. Still need to straighten inside my kitchen cabinets.


Week 3: We’re Still Just Looking Around At Eye-Level!


MONDAY: Hopefully, you either took the day off or used it as a catch up day.

TUESDAY: I made it an outside day and spent some time cleaning up the garden (and planting a few fall “crops” in pots and the ground. Lettuce and green beans mostly. We’ll see if it works.

WEDNESDAY: Proclaiming today the day for clearing the clutter! Clear off the flat surfaces that you’ve been ignoring. Bonus points if you get one in every room in your house.

THURSDAY: Wash and Dry Day! Clean the the washer and dryer. Every once in a while I run a cap of bleach through the washer on a hot, quick cycle. Usually just after someone has put something super stinky (or sick bedding) in the wash. Wipe out the part where you are supposed to add fabric softener. Not sure why but mine gets super dusty and gross. Then, wipe down the top and sides (if you can get to them) of both the washer and the dryer. Finally, if you’re like us, clear the top of the dryer of all the things that don’t belong there.

FRIDAY: Windows! Open window weather is upon us. Nice to be able to see out of them as well. Clean your windows. Just inside or inside and out. I’ll be sticking with just inside over here. And don’t forget the window sills.


Bonus Task


I could count Tuesday’s garden clean up as my bonus task but I’ve got plenty of outdoor cleaning to keep me busy. Do some outdoor cleaning (and decorating if you’re so inclined). My focus is going to be the front porch and back deck. Clear off any junk (How a back deck table gets cluttered is beyond me!), sweep/wash off the areas, and add a new doormat or small pot of flowers.  Also a good time to plant some spring bulbs! Just make it an outside day. 

Rain/alternate plan: Put on some relaxing music, and have a cup of tea while dreaming about how you’ll decorate the outside for fall or make some notes about things you’d like to plant in your garden next spring and summer. For me those notes include zinnias, cosmos, and a wall of herbs growing in containers plus sunflowers that bloom in less than 100 days. My fall decor plans involve mostly mums and little additions to my fairy garden areas.

How do you decorate outside for fall? Or do you wait and just do Halloween?

Happy Homemaker Tuesday, Day After Labor Day

Isn’t Tuesday the new Monday? Feels like it! I took yesterday off from the blog (all weekend with the exception of Saturday’s bird watching post really).

Time to get back into things. And plan the week ahead. Hoping it helps me feel a bit more organized or purposeful or something. Struggling a bit this morning.

As always, planning to link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. Let’s get to the categories.

The Weather

Fall-like this morning. Yesterday was hot and in the 90’s. This morning it is 59 degrees and not supposed to get much warmer. Slight chances of rain all week.

How I’m Feeling This Morning 

A bit tense and anxious for no real reason (well, except global pandemic, things aren’t normal, and all that stuff). Wanted a day to just be. However, J is home from school (stuffy nose, lack of sleep last night, nothing serious) and so I’ll be dealing with him soon enough. G is also home doing on-line college courses. Everyone was home this weekend. I like us all together but all home and messing up the house (with not enough people cleaning it) is another story.

On My Mind

The week ahead, whether or not it’s going to rain, the things outside I’d like to do, going back to bed, Christmas, what to do about J’s school stuff today, my work schedule, family I need to catch up with soon, too much.

On My To Do List 

  1. Clean the house
  2. A bit of laundry (not as bad as last week)
  3. If it doesn’t rain, plant green beans and lettuce in the garden
  4. Find pot for amaryllis so I can transition it back inside, maybe for a small lavender plant as well. Wonder if it will grow all year inside? 
  5. Discuss on-line school weeks with J, suffice it to say him doing the work in his room is not going well.
  6. Fall countdown cleaning (hopefully, you used yesterday as a catch up day). Look for the fall countdown cleaning post later today.
  7. Post more than one blog entry this week.
  8. Pick up the camera every day. Do homework for free e-mail course I’m doing.
  9. See about pulling out some fall clothes (not too many though…this is the Midwest, it might be 90 again next week. You never know)
  10. Get some fall bulbs, make some notes about flowers I want to plant for next summer

On My Breakfast Plate

Peach cobbler flip yogurt and coffee

On My Reading Pile

I read four (FOUR!) books last week. The first was okay, just a light silly romance which I probably rated higher than it deserved over on Goodreads: Spring Shoots on Sunflower Street by Rachel Griffiths. The second book was Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay. Carol over at Pure Sugar mentioned it awhile back. I knew it was about a pandemic but thought it probably was about the 1918 influenza pandemic or something. I wasn’t familiar with the author. Oops. Not about that pandemic. Scary stuff. However, also refreshingly well-written in a I couldn’t put it down kind of way. Intense.

Needed something a little less scary, so next I read The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis. Characters were messy and interesting, the who of the mystery easy to figure out but the how and why not so much. Worth the time to read. And finally, I *foolishly* ordered another Paul Tremblay book from the library: The Cabin At The End Of The World. Another didn’t put it down book but I’m still not even sure how I felt about it. Especially the ending. His other two books in our library look a little too scary for me but we’ll see if I break down and read them.

And this week, I am reading something completely different from all of the above. The Son And Heir: A Memoir by Alexander Munninghoff. He was born near the end of World War II and his father fought as an SS soldier much to the dismay of his grandfather. I’m only a little over halfway through this one.

On My TV

Starting to see why I didn’t post as much last week. Had to take advantage of our free trial of Starz so watched a few movies (We cancelled Starz by the way, I didn’t see enough to justify paying for it monthly). Watched Taken with Liam Neeson because we’d never seen it. Not super impressed, just a Jason Bourne wannabe in my opinion. And I watched A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. Enjoyable, touching movie. Honestly, I found myself more impressed with Matthew Rhys than Tom Hanks though of course, they are both fantastic actors.

Regular streaming stuff: watched some Fuller House and some Fear The Walking Dead.

And one last show to chat with you all about, this one my husband and I both enjoy! 80’s loving friends take note. I was skeptical but Cobra Kai on Netflix is worth your time. Smart, funny, and with the original actors from The Karate Kid movies (watch those first if by some chance you’ve lived under a rock and not seen them). Note: the show does contain language, violence, and alcohol so definitely a PG-13 but I do think older teens would enjoy it. My 19 year old actually suggested the show to us.)

On The Menu This Week 

Banana pudding, a late summer dessert

Um, can we talk about cooking shows instead? I did randomly watch some regular TV show with Jamie Oliver making a 30 minute meal  (Does your supermarket carry fresh pasta? Ours decidedly does not).

MONDAY: We had smoked chicken and salad (my husband smoked the chickens on the grill) *J had a baritone lesson at 6:30*

TUESDAY: Feels like a spaghetti day to me

WEDNESDAY: Fish, baked potatoes *I work 10-3:45*

THURSDAY: Maybe out (Has to be something quick) or leftover chicken from today *I work 7:30-4:45* *J has band practice 6-8:45*

FRIDAY: Chili and cornbread

From The Camera 

Flowers!

Sweet autumn clematis, sure sign of late summer, impending arrival of fall

purple asters

Mums on the front porch

Looking Around The House

It’s dark in here because of the cloudy, fall-like day. I’m ready to decorate for the new season.

On My Prayer List

Family, Friends, Strangers. Kids and teachers in other local districts starting school today. A speedy recovery for friend’s daughter who recently tested positive for Covid 19 and her family to remain negative. The country, the world to try empathy and kindness instead of hate and division.

Quote For The Week

We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another. (Unknown)

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Whew! I got chatty there. Now that we’re all caught up, what does your week ahead look like?

 

Backyard Birds

Nothing too exciting happening around here. It’s been a bit of an off week for some reason but the backyard birds kept right on schedule with their ever entertaining antics.

Chickadee

The tufted titmouse usually arrives in the late afternoon to early evenings.

And once I see the first one, I know to look for the second one. They stick together.

Finally captured a picture of the nuthatch on the regular bird feeder. Wonder what he was discussing with the tufted titmouse?

I think he was perhaps sharing a bit of gossip about the slow eating habits of the downy woodpeckers.

Can’t you imagine him just saying, “Are you done yet? Want to speed things along?” to that downy woodpecker.  You can see another downy woodpecker off to the right in the photo above. It seems most birds around the backyard are arriving in pairs. I even saw another nuthatch one evening.

Lots of doves still hanging around under and sometimes on the feeder. Occasionally, the little gray cat will meander over and ask if they want to play. The answer much to her dismay is always no.

Those mourning doves can be a bit snobbish. The Eurasian collared doves are just shy, I think. Can hardly open the back door for a picture without them taking cover. They flew to the far tree in a neighbor’s yard.

The Hummingbirds

Next, let’s talk about our resident hummingbirds. Or perhaps I should say hummingbird. The fearless guardian of the feeder.

Not much phases this little guy. He sits and guards the feeder. And occasionally makes rounds checking the utility of each “flower” on the feeder.

Here’s a rare instance where you can see him sitting on the fence (a blur in the background) while another hummingbird eats.

He must of have been daydreaming. Usually, at the first sign of another hummingbird, the chase starts. And they zip around the deck and through the garden while he makes his position clear. Then, he returns to the fence and resumes guard duty. Or sometimes he stops to inspect the feeder. If he’s feeling particularly feisty, I sometimes spot him over by the regular feeder making sure all the birds know their places.

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Finally, Mr. Flamingo wanted you all to see his new fall fashion.

Other birds spotted this week: sparrows, cardinals, Carolina wrens, heard blue jays but didn’t see them, robins (at work), turkey vultures (while driving), crows (while driving), red-bellied woodpeckers, and my ever present house finches.

Linking up with The Bird Depot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’

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