Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday - February 27, 2017

The much chillier this week than last week. It's been in the 30s now (compared to the upper 50s last week). We feel fortunate, though, that the big snowstorm that hit southern Minnesota didn't drop a bit of snow here!

The pond was open last week and there were geese swimming in it. The last few days it froze over again with the colder temperatures.

Right now I am....getting ready for day of multiple appointments. to make a weighted blanket that doesn't make a person overheat...or is there one out there that would fit what I need?

There's a certain amount of pressure that sheets and blankets provide which is nice. However, depending on how much pressure you like, the heat from the blankets can get quite overwhelming.

started reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Am about half way done with the book.

On my TV.....things I'm falling asleep while watching. Seems like I'm having a lot of trouble staying awake at night. It's probably because I'm not sleeping well at night.

Favorite blog post last week (mine or other)....came across Vickie's Kitchen and Garden's post about ways she was frugal during the past week. Thought it would be a good idea to consciously plan and reflect upon ways to be more frugal.

Something fun to share....March is Color Therapy Month. Who knew? I certainly didn't. There's a whole page of suggestions - one for each day of March - to celebrate Color Therapy Month.

March is also National Craft Month. If you go to its website, you can sign up and be notified "when the party starts." Wonder what they have in store for those who sign up.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....I was looking for a free pattern to make pillowcases and came across The Seasoned Homemaker. Purchased the fabric to make two pillowcases and will be making them this week.

On the menu for this week....I planned meals using recipes that I've wanted to try (most are from Taste of Home magazine) and Olivia's Five in a Row cookbook. She's almost done with her cookbook/scrapbook now. It's a nice visual record of the many recipes she tried that tie into books she read and I read together.

This is the first week that I'll be using the grocery store chart that I created last week. It should make trips to the store much more time-efficient since everything on the list is in the order that I walk through the store.

The grocery store chart/list is two-sided.
This should save time as I go through the store. 

For breakfasts, we'll be trying some new recipes this week: frozen fruit cups; overnight coffee cake; biscuits with ham and cheese; and sourdough bread. The latter two recipes are from the Five in a Row Cookbook.

For lunches, new recipes include: vegetable hummus tortilla wraps, Boston brown bread, and whole wheat bread. The latter two recipes also are from the Five in a Row Cookbook and will be used for making sandwiches.

For dinners, new recipes I want to try include: spaghetti and meatballs in the slow cooker. We'll be having pancakes and sausages for dinner on Tuesday night (Fat Tuesday).

We're using up what we have in the freezer and cupboard, so using the meat we have on hand, I'll be making some recipes that we've had before like beef stew over wild rice; turkey burgers; tuna noodle casserole. Sophia will have a salmon burger for at least one meal.

Olivia with a salmon burger.
We have quite a few frozen patties that
we are trying to finish.

On my to do addition to homeschooling, working on taxes, and helping the girls on 4-H projects they are doing (Sophia is making a quilt for her bed and Olivia is doing a latch-hook project):

Monday: allergy shot (Sophia), renew passports (Sophia and Olivia), Hoss's hooves trimmed, and hopefully get Cooper into the vet to check one of his dew claws which he has been licking a lot over the weekend. Something happened and I can't figure out why it's bothering him so much.

Tuesday: homeschool co-op (Sophia and Olivia), harp lesson (Sophia), drop off donations at thrift store, get supplies for 4-H meeting on Thursday, and start going through photos that are in boxes to determine which ones to keep and which ones to toss.

Wednesday: give all dogs heartworm pills as well as apply flea & tick medicine; organize freezer and refrigerator (including defrosting freezers); and Mary B. here for 4 hours.

Thursday: 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl meeting (2 hours), 4-H meeting (2 1/2 hours), and 4-H Banner Committee Meeting (1/2 hour).

Sophia will be doing a demonstration at the 4-H meeting about
how to make baked donuts.
These are mini-donuts that are baked in a donut-shaped pan
(kind of like a muffin pan).

Friday: funeral for a friend's father.

Saturday: go to my sister's condo for 4 hours to go through photos from our parents' photo albums. Determine which ones to keep and which ones to let go.

Go to the co-op afterwards and get essential oils, tiny jars for the essential oil blends, bean sprouts, and alfalfa sprouts. Hopefully they have the sprouts. The major grocery stores no longer carry them (it's a food safety issue).

I've been using a blend of these essential oils during the past week.
They are good for helping with sinus issues.

Sunday: wash the basement walls and update the barn quilt trail website with the 11 new barn quilts that were painted and installed this past spring to winter.

In the craft basket....finished three sensory/activity quilts for seniors at the nursing home where Sophia, Olivia, and I volunteer. So many of the residents are struggling with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. This is an issue close to my heart since my dad had Alzheimer's Disease and mom had dementia.

I made the quilts using children's clothing, items from the thrift shop, and fabric that I had on hand.

It was nice to make something useful from these items...while freeing up several bags of items that were taking up space.

All the fabric is purchased, washed, and ironed for the two pillowcases I want to make this week. Just need to cut and sew the fabric now. These will be entered into the county fair. I'm excited to be starting on some items for the fair. Last year I didn't enter much of anything. I was too busy with 4-H. I've cut back this year which has given me the opportunity to re-visit crafts that I enjoy doing.

Picked out the fabric for two potholders. These also will be made for the county fair that's in August. It will be nice to be able to use them after that and replace some of the more worn ones that we're using now.

Looking forward to this week....spending time with my sister and looking at photos of our parents.

Looking around the house....there are areas that I need to de-clutter and clean. The sensory/activity quilts took about ten hours to make - a significant chunk of my weekend. I'll need to tuck in cleaning time during the week to get things to be a bit more orderly.

From the camera....Sophia made homemade ice cream using a method she saw on You Tube. She placed dry ice on a cookie sheet and covered it with a towel. After pouring some rubbing alcohol on top of the towel (not sure if that was to speed up the cooling process or to activate the dry ice), she put a cast-iron pan on top of the towel.

The pan began getting cold pretty quickly. She put an ice cream mixture on top (basically sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream) and some fresh strawberries.

Using two utensils that we got in the paint section at Wal-Mart, she chopped up the berries and moved around the ice cream mixture.  Before long, the ice cream was done.

It was amazing! Super fresh...only a few ingredients...the way ice cream should be.

Would we use the dry ice method again? Probably not. We'd use our ice cream maker since getting regular ice is a lot cheaper than dry ice. Nonetheless, it was an interesting experiment and delicious dessert.

Also linked to:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Waldorf Grain Schedule - February

Below are seven different recipes that I tried this past week that tie into the Waldorf grain schedule. Each day is assigned a grain and one (or more) recipes can be made using that particular grain.

According to the Parenting Passageway, "A different grain for each day is part of the Waldorf Kindergarten and connected to the cosmic origins of the days of the week.   A different grain a day fits in with the nourishing weekly rhythm the kindergarten thrives on. The most common listing of the following, taken from The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book:

Sunday (Sun): Wheat
Monday (Moon):  Rice
Tuesday (Mars):  Barley
Wednesday (Mercury);  Millet
Thursday (Jupiter):  Rye
Friday (Venus):  Oats
Saturday (Saturn):  Corn

Those who cook with whole grain, including Waldorf teachers, attribute different properties to various grains.  According to The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, the properties are:

-Wheat - a harmonizer of the organ systems
- Rice - acting on the digestive system
- Barley - strengthening to the connective ligaments due to a high silica content and also seen to be soothing to the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines
- Millet - has warming properties
- Rye - nourishes the head and bones
- Oats - loosens stiffness and increases stamina and resistance to disease
- Corn stimulates the metabolism in muscles

I thought that it would be interesting to try a different recipe for each of the grains. Below are recipes and ideas from Pinterest that tie into the Waldorf grain schedule.

Sunday (Sun): Wheat

For the first day of the week, I found a pin on Pinterest that led to Cooking Light. Rather than baking or cooking something, today's recipe is simply taking multi-grain wheat crackers and topping them with each with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

According to Cooking light, "This nutrient-rich snack [is] just 193 calories and offers 2 grams of fiber. The combination of complex carbs and protein help to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling full longer."

Thoughts about this Recipe:

This was an easy snack that took the edge off of being hungry. It was surprising how something so simple - a cracker with peanut butter - could be so filling.

Monday (Moon): Rice

For Monday's recipe, I found a pin that led Joy Bauer for am easy-to-make snack: Rice Cake with Cottage Cheese and Tomato.

According to Joy Bauer, "Low-fat dairy, like cheese and yogurt, delivers a big hit of high-quality whey protein to keep you awake and attentive." This snack is particularly good in the afternoon when some people tend to get into a midday slump.

Rice Cake
Low-fat cottage cheese
Seasonings of your choice (e.g., creole, lemon pepper blend)

Top a rice cake with ¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese, tomato slices, and seasonings.

Thoughts about this Recipe: I had this for dinner one night when I wanted something light. The combination of the crunchy rice cake and soft cottage cheese was an interesting texture. I'm glad it had tomatoes on it otherwise it would have been rather bland. During the summer, this would be a good meal with fresh basil leaves in addition to the tomatoes.

As a side note, Sophia and Olivia were not interested in trying this snack.

Tuesday (Mars): Barley

The pin for Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad eventually led to Simply Recipes. It serves 6-8 people.


1 1/2 cups barley
1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth (I had to use 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and strained
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup diced dried apricots
2-3 chopped green onions or scallions
1 cup chopped parsley
Zest and juice of a lemon
1 Tbsp of ras el hanout spice mix*
Salt to taste

*Ras El Hanout Spice Mix:
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric


On medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add the barley and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

Add the broth, water, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the barley is tender (30 minutes to 1 hour), strain it, and run cold water over it to quickly cool the barley.

Place the barley on a cookie pan and drizzle olive oil over it. Mix it well and then set it aside.

In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, pistachios, apricots, green onions, and parsley. Mix well.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon. Mix again. Mix in the barley.

Sprinkle the Ras El Hanout spice mixture over the barley and mix well. Taste, and add salt if needed.

Let the salad marinate for an hour before serving. If the barley absorbed all of the olive oil, drizzle a little more on right before serving.

Thoughts about this Recipe:

I really liked the combination of ingredients and spices. For the barley, an extra cup of water needed to be added so that the barley didn't stick to the bottom of the pan and could cook until it was done.

Sophia liked it, but said she thought there may be better uses for pistachios and dried apricots (she likes both of them plain). Olivia didn't want to taste it. I'll make this again - in a smaller quantity - for just me.

Wednesday (Mercury); Millet

For Wednesday, I found a pin for Banana Millet Muffins that led to


Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup millet
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 medium banana, chopped

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly coat the bottoms of twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, millet, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in bananas.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Thoughts about this Recipe:

The muffins are very moist and flavorful. They taste like banana muffins with a subtle crunchiness (the millet). We've never had millet before, so we found it to be an interesting texture. We all would prefer the muffins without the millet. Perhaps there is another use for it that would taste more appropriate. Millet just didn't seem to be the right grain for these muffins.

Thursday (Jupiter): Rye

Today is an easy recipe: a Rye Sandwich. The pin on Pinterest looked good, and led to the image only on Klaud's Soup. It looks like the sandwich is made with cream cheese, baby lettuce, scallion, dill, cucumber, and radish.

Thoughts about this Recipe:

I didn't have lettuce, but the rest of the ingredients I did to make this sandwich. The bread is different than the original pin, but this one is one that we enjoy. Sophia tried some of my sandwich and said she liked it, but wouldn't put as many vegetables in it. I'd agree. The next time I make this sandwich, about half of the vegetables would do.

It reminded me of Summer; and the fresh herbs and produce that are available. I'm looking forward to the CSA starting up again and getting fresh food from them again this year.

Friday (Venus): Oats

I saw a pin for a smoothie that looked delicious: Frutti di Bosco, Oat, and Almond Smoothie. It led to Apron and Sneakers and makes one serving.


1/4 cup frutti di bosco (mixed berries), frozen or fresh
1 cup (or more) almond milk (or regular milk)
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
Lingonberry concentrate to sweeten (or honey), if almond milk is unsweetened


Grind the oats to an almost powdery consistency if your blender can. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thoughts about this Recipe:

Fruit, milk, oats, and honey - all ingredients we like. However, this combination just didn't work for us. I used powdered milk because I increased the amount of fruit and didn't want to use any from the gallon of milk recently purchased.

Dry milk has a distinctive taste that I can't always handle. In some things, I can't taste it. In this recipe, I could. Between that and the oats and not enough honey - I wouldn't make this recipe again. I'll stick with our traditional way of making fruit smoothies.

Saturday (Saturn): Corn

The pin for Blueberry Cornbread Breakfast Muffins led to Pop Sugar


Non-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon (I didn't use this)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup (5 ounces) fresh blueberries (I used frozen blueberries that I rinsed in hot water)


Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Melt the butter in the microwave, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, eggs, butter, and lemon extract. Whisk the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until everything is thoroughly combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin tin with batter until two-thirds full.

Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick test comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 12 muffins.

Thoughts about this Recipe:

These were easy muffins to make and tasted fine. They are definitely a cornbread muffin in that the texture tastes kind of "rough" compared to a "smooth" texture of all-purpose flour.

Olivia didn't care for the muffins since they had blueberries in them; and Sophia said that she would prefer them without the blueberries. So, I won't be making this recipe again.


This week of recipes didn't fare as well as I hoped. Although some recipes were good in and of themselves, they weren't ones that we would want to eat again. I'll try again next month with new recipes for each of the days. Perhaps those recipes will be more appetizing.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Foto Friends

Today I'm joining Deb for Friday Foto Friends. Come join us and share your photos!

Earlier this week, the weather was beautiful - in the upper 50s. Some places nearby hit 60. We were pretty close to that.

The weather this weekend, however, is supposed to drop about 30 degrees and there's a significant amount of snow forecasted.

Thought I'd capture some of the early spring signs before they are covered up with snow. Who knows, with the warm temperatures, the snow may not be around for very long.

I put out some birdseed on Wednesday morning after seeing a male cardinal at the feeder. Much to my surprise, later in the day there were honeybees at the feeder. I've never seen that before.

I'm not sure what the honeybees were finding in the bird seed.

In the backyard, the apple tree has some buds on it. It's a blurry picture, but many of the buds are starting to emerge. This is way too early in Minnesota.

Near the pine trees on the east side of the backyard, there are patches of moss.

The lilacs are starting to bud. Again, this is way too early in the season for this to be happening.

Bailey, looks out from the barn. It's rather muddy out there. Yet, this weather is perfect for her to gallop around the pasture and kick up her legs. She and her companion, Hoss, even roll in the mud sometimes.

Interestingly, the strawberries didn't all turn brown this winter. I'm not sure why - or how - the leaves could remain green in sub-zero weather.

The Northern Magnolia Tree is even further along with its buds. In the spring, this shrub/tree is covered with white blossoms that are very fragrant.

Looking west, the pond is completely open now. No more ice or snow cover. Am hoping that ducks or geese spend more time in the pond this spring...perhaps even raise a family here.

In the front yard, next to the culvert, a tiny bit of snow remains.

More typically seen now are grass and patches of mud...often with dog prints in them.

The birds perch in the trees. This one is in the other apple tree in the backyard.

The black-capped chickadees are frequent visitors to the bird feeder.

Four of the gardens are waiting to be planted. One has some strawberries in it. Otherwise, the gardens are planted with transplants and seeds.

There are three more gardens. These are the closest spots to the house that still get full sunlight. The longer we've lived here, the taller the trees have become. What used to be sunny, now is shady. There isn't as much space near by that we can use for gardening.

The squirrels have been busy this winter de-barking some of the limbs of the trees. This one - for some reason - they chose to de-bark the entire trunk of the tree.

The east part of the backyard has pine trees that we planted. The first one - to the far left of the photo - was one that was already here in 1995 - when we moved into the home. It was probably no more than a couple of feet high...three at the most.

It now towers high above us and is as tall as the other pine trees that we had transplanted around 1999 or 2000. Those evergreens were about 10-12 feet tall at the time. They are easily double that in height now.

A few years ago, we planted some 1' tall seedlings in the front yard with the goal of eventually blocking the view of the road. These type of trees grow more like cylinders than Christmas-tree shaped, so they can be planted closer together.

The west pasture has limited growth at this point in the year. Nonetheless, the horses go out and look for food to eat. They also are fed hay and grain.

At this point, there are no flowers blooming yet. Next month some of the early flowers may start to emerge.

It definitely feels like spring even though we are still in the middle of winter. Never in my life would I imagine that February would look like this. Gone are the winters when snow would be drifted high and be tall enough to make snow caves out of - complete with rooms and tunnels that my sister, brother, and I used to make in the backyard off the lake.

At least I have those memories which I hold onto dearly and enjoy revisiting every now and then.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nature Journal Entries in February: Beaver and Sun Pillar

This year one of my nature study goals is to get back into the habit of keeping a nature journal. In the past, I've kept an online nature journal that I enjoyed doing. It combined information about a subject and lots of pictures - either from a nature walk that week or photographs I have taken in the past. The online posts also included photos of Sophia's and Olivia's nature journal entries.

What I haven't been keeping up with is my actual nature journal - the one I use colored pencils with and include drawings, doodles, and photographs. I miss doing that.

So, this year I want to do one nature journal entry per month. Last month, I focused on graupel - or granular snow pellets. It was the first time I'd ever seen graupel...and I live in Minnesota.

This month, I did two nature journal entries. One was about a beaver we saw walking in the woods by a ditch a couple miles from where we live; and the other was about a beautiful sunset and sun pillar.

For both entries, I incorporated a photo (or photos) to show what I saw. The first journal entry was about seeing a beaver on the side of the road in the ditch. Sophia got out of the car to take photos.

It was the first time I'd ever seen a live beaver ambling in the woods. We see the lodges on ponds near us, but never any live beavers are walking around like the one we saw on February 11th.

One of the things that I did differently this month for the nature journal entries, is that I used Prismacolor fine-point color pens for writing instead of the Prismacolor color pencils I normally use. The fine points were a lot easier to write with and look much cleaner than the color pencils.

I also was able to get a lot more information on the page - like on the journal entry about the sun pillar and sunset that I did on February 18th.

Some other supplies I would like to gather for nature journaling this year include:
- gel pens
- Prismacolor watercolor pencils
- Prismacolor markers
- Very sharp #2 pencils for quick sketches
- Pencil sharpener
- Six-inch ruler
- A jar lid for making circles
- Tape and a glue stick to adhere items in my nature journal
- A small cup and paint brush when using watercolor pencils

A few quick facts about beavers that I learned:
=> A beaver is a herbivore.
=> The average life span in the wild: up to 24 years.
=> Weight: 60 pounds!
=> Lodges are often in the middle of ponds and can only be reached by underwater entrances.
=> They are one of the largest rodents.
=> They waddle on land, but are graceful in the water.
=> They can swim up to 5 mph.
=> They can remain under water for 15 minutes without surfacing.

The sun pillar is something I don't think I've ever seen before. What is a sun pillar? It's a vertical shaft of light that extends upward or downward from a bright light source - such as the Sun. It is caused by the many reflections off the large, flat face of horizontally-falling plate ice crystals. Most are commonly seen above a very low sun at sunset or sunrise.

Sun pillars are different from sun dogs (which I've seen). A sun dog is when there's a bright spot to the left and/or right of the Sun. They often occur in pairs, one on each side of the Sun.

According to Wikipedia, sun dogs are created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sun dogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the Sun is close to the horizon."

It's been nice getting back into the habit of nature journaling. Looking at and reading some of my past entries brings me right back to that particular day, walk, or experience. I am so grateful to have written these memories down so I can remember and enjoy them once again.

52 Weeks to an Organized Home: Healthy Meal Planning and Creating a Grocery Shopping List (Week 8)

This week for the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home, the focus is on healthy meal planning and creating a grocery shopping list.

There are a lot of helpful tips on that site. Some of them, I already follow and others are good reminders of things I should be doing.

One of the ideas, and which I did this week when planning meals, is based on the idea from the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home which suggested, as a way to save money and not waste the food on hand, is to first take stock of what we had have in refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, and try to use as many of those ingredients as possible.

I set up a preliminary meal plan from this week until the second week of March. Each of the days is listed on the left hand side and then I divide the page into three columns: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Some days/meals have more items in them if there are a couple of recipes that I'm using. Some meals don't have anything listed or are rather sparse (e.g., applesauce). For those meals, I'm anticipating using leftovers.

One of the cookbooks that we'll be using over the next few weeks is Olivia's Five in a Row Cookbook. She's been working on it for several years now. Each of the books in the Five in a Row curriculum have suggested recipes along with space to put photos. It's been a nice way to visually remember all the recipes she's made - as well as see how she's grown over the years.

The boxes next to the recipes are what photos that need to be taken and the direction (either a vertical photo or horizontal photo).

So, for the upcoming few weeks, rather than making a lot of new recipes using ingredients I didn't have on hand, I inventoried what was in the freezers and refrigerator, and created a meal plan around that. Many of the Five in a Row recipes use what we have on hand which is good.

By doing that, I easily saved more than half of what I normally spend on groceries. As the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home website notes, "This isn't about deprivation, this is just about using what you have more consciously."

My goal this spring is to use up the food I have on hand and start fresh by the summer. Back in December, Sophia and I got rid of a lot of food - either donating it to the food bank or throwing it out (if it had expired) in preparation for her "16 Sweet Things" for her 16th birthday project.

This freed up a lot of room in cupboards and freezer which was nice. Now, any new purchases are easy to find and are used within a couple of weeks.

Another idea - as we get closer to Summer is to look at the ingredients that we have on hand, and get creative with how we can use them to make a meal. The goal would be to make as many meals that we can using the items that already are in our cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer.

Preparing a Grocery List

One of the things we've started doing this past year is having a white-board on the refrigerator. When we run out of something, we add it to the list. This idea was from one of the CNAs who used to care for my Mom. The CNAs and personal care attendants would add items they needed to the list. Then either my sister or I would purchase those items when we were visiting my Mom.

So, n the past, I've written grocery lists in my notebook. On Tuesday, I took the time to create a shopping list based on the aisles at Wal-Mart and the direction that I go through the store when shopping there.

It was a bit time-consuming to do this - both the trip through the store writing down the items as well as typing them into a list. However, now I have a two-page customized shopping list that I can transfer the items from the white-board onto before I go shopping.

Once I'm at the store, it will be much more efficient and less time-consuming since I'll have the list of items I need in the order that they are in the store.

Because of this weekly challenge, I'm getting things in my life significantly more organized and streamlined than they have been. I'm also providing a good model for Sophia and Olivia who can learn some of these ideas and use them when they are adults.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodge Podge

1. Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

When I was in elementary and junior high school, my sister,  brother, and I would fish off our dock on Bass Lake in Plymouth. We'd catch sunnies which my dad would prepare and my mom would cook for dinner. Sometimes we'd catch bullheads and catfish which my dad would take off the hook and toss back.

When I was in college, I went on a date with a guy who took me fishing. I caught a sheepshead (also known as a freshwater drum). It was the largest fish I had ever caught. Didn't take a picture of it because it was before the age of cellphones.

This isn't a sheepshead fish.
It's a blue-spined unicorn fish at the Minnesota Zoo.
Thought it looked rather human-like with its
big "nose,", tiny lips, and big eye.

In terms of sayings, packed in like sardines would be most applicable. As I look at the bed, two of the dogs and one cat are either right next to me or sitting on my back. They have the whole king bed to choose from to have more space. They choose to be right here...squished - although comfortable - next to one another.

2. What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

In the order above: my cell phone, my checkbook, an envelope, and twist tie.

3. Your favorite fish tale or movie?

I couldn't think of a fish movie, so my next thought was ocean. Immediately, Dolphin Tale came to mind. It's based on a true story, and follows the progress of a dolphin named Winter who lost her tail. She not only survived but thrived at Clearwater Marine Hospital. A boy named Sawyer (who found Winter tangled up in fishing line) faithfully visits her. He also becomes friends with a girl named Hazel and her family.

I like this movie because it looks at how - despite challenges - you can overcome obstacles.

4. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

Sunrise. Definitely am a morning person.

5. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

I still have t-shirts from the non-profit organization I started by back in the late 1990s. The t-shirts are probably from around the year 2000 - so 16 years old. I have a blue hooded sweatshirt too that is so comfortable. Unfortunately it's on its last legs after 20 or so years.

6. We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?

Actually the weather has been unseasonably warm this year. Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. The lakes are opening up; and ponds and creeks are water and not ice now. This is beautiful weather - anything from the 30s to 70s is my ideal temperature range. I have no reason to go anywhere else.

Have been enjoying listening to the birds singing.
There are cardinals around which I'm very happy about.
The black-capped chickadees are prolific and
like eating at the feeders around the yard.

The best part of winter has been that there were only a handful of days under zero. That, too, is the worst part - those days are very difficult on the horses and people. It's just brutal when the temperature is 10 degrees below zero or colder and the windchill is 20+ degrees below zero.

7.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune? margaritas or alcohol for me. Stopped drinking in October 1991. It will be 26 years this October.

I never really got into music by Jimmy Buffet. That being said, he did write the soundtrack for, and co-produced and played a role in the movie Hoot because conservation is an issue that's important to him.

Burrowing Owl.

Sophia, Olivia, and I read the book and saw the movie which we all liked. It has a very good message and shows the power that kids can have to make an environmental difference.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We've been having such beautiful sunsets this past week. Almost every night, the sky is transformed into this magnificent light show.

This was taken last week - before the snow in the pond melted and the heavy rain that has created a rather large pond. There were trumpeter swans in the nearby field - where Olivia and I saw them a few years ago. Yesterday, two geese were in our pond swimming and putting their wings under the water. They would then spread their wings and shake their bodies out. It looked like they were enjoying the water after flying back north.

What's odd is that we never see geese this early in the season. April is the typical time for their return. Not February. The trumpeter swans come through in March and April.

Looks like an early spring again this year.