Monday, July 6, 2015

Menu & Goals

Who's ready for another week of humidity? Woo-hoo? We have had so many flash flood warnings it's become a way of life. Thank goodness no damage to our home yet, except for my veggie garden, but I'm kind of on pins and needles. I'm hoping we enter a dry pattern soon.

In the mean time, I'm planning meals that won't heat up the house too much. When it's this sticky, it's hard to eat real food. Personally, I would rather just have ice cream for dinner. But Moms aren't really aloud to say that, right?

Here's my menu plan:

Mon -- grilled chicken (if it doesn't rain), salad, rice
Tue -- salad bar, rolls
Wed -- black beans, rice, kielbasa
Thu -- summer veggies over pasta
Fri -- pizza

Breakfasts -- berries, yogurt

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, hummus + rice cakes

(Linked to: Menu Plan Monday)

This Week's Goals:

Kitchen: Clean out freezer, organize cupboards, make snickerdoodles and freezer jam
House: Clean front door, re-caulk shower
Garden: Weed & see what needs to be taken out/re-planted
Work: Write 2,000 words, read & review one book

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Favorite Reads of 2015 (So Far)

So, the year is halfway through, and I took a minute to review the books I've read this year. And, I have an issue. My issue is that as a fast reader I don't often remember detailed plots or story lines from the books I read.

In 2015 I have read 66 books. Of those I rated 5 books with 5 stars (on a 1-5 star scale). I want to write a post about them, but truthfully I can only remember small reasons why I liked them so much. I'm still going to share, but instead of telling you why I liked them, I'm going to tell you how they made me feel. Because that I can remember vividly.

In no particular order, here they are:

I felt reassured by Molly Wizenberg's description of her marriage - one spouse says I want to build a boat, build a violin, build a pizza place, and you ignore him or her because you're used to these schemes not coming true. Until one day you're co-owner of a pizza place. To me is was a very realistic description, and not one I've read before.

The descriptions of the failed Mt. Everest expedition were so vivid I took them as real. I remembered feeling bone chilling cold, as if I were there.

I was so taken by this story that I texted both of my brothers right away and demanded that they read it. They ignored me.

I read most of this book at a table in the continental breakfast room of a hotel in Cleveland. The breakfast host kept trying to talk to me, and I was so annoyed. Is there anything worse than when you're in the middle of a great book and someone keeps asking you "So what are you reading?"

Why oh why did I read the Cliffs notes in High School? This book was amazing!

And just for fun the book I rated lowest (2 1/2 out of 5 stars) was:

I couldn't stand the main character. Going through a stone circle to the past is a situation you take seriously, but she just didn't enough for my tastes. I don't see what Jamie saw in her frankly.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Garden Update - Salad Days

This is the time of the year when weeds try to take over. I've been busy, and have a near constant line of dirt under my fingernails. I consider that a good problem to have!

My herb garden continues to flourish, and we've been eating daily salads featuring lettuce grown from seeds I saved last year.

Giant: Onion sets $3.34
Home Depot: Mulch, soil, grass seed $40.00
Garden Center: Plants $26.24 + a gift card I got for Christmas
Seeds from $44
Mulch: $90

Total: $203.58

Harvests (pricing comes from my local grocery stores and
1 large jar of dried rosemary: $8.55
1 small jar of dried rosemary: $2.19
1 bunch of daffodils: $2.49
4 bunches of mixed herbs: $4
1 bunch dried oregano: $3.09
1 bunch dried thyme: $2.65
1 bunch dried lavender: $7
Mixed greens: $6

Total: $35.97

Total Profit/Loss: ($167.61)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Quick Lit June

Should we also refer to summer as "reading season?" All of the summer reading programs available for kids and adults are making it hard to put my books down! I'm eagerly finishing up my 2015 reading challenge, filling in my Books on the Nightstand BINGO Card, and reading through my own personal summer reading list. Bring on the beach chairs!

My list this month is mostly fluff, but that's what summer is all about, right?

I finally got around to reading Daddy Long Legs after having it on my shelf for a year, and I'm so glad I did. This book about a college student in the early 20th century was surprisingly relatable to my almost 40 year old 2015 self.

I went on and read Dear Pen Pal (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) after Daddy Long Legs, and that book was enjoyable, but I felt like I should have waited until my daughter was old enough to read it with me.

I found One Hundred Names when I needed something light to listen to while plowing my way through a particularly tedious project. I picked it at random from my library's Overdrive account, and it fit the bill perfectly. It's Irish chick lit with an uplifting story that led to a happy ending. I'd recommend it.

I have a real fondness for these formulaic Amish romances that keep showing up everywhere.The Beekeeper's Son (The Amish of Bee County) was as predictable as the rest of them, but the Texas setting made it interesting.

I really am enjoying reading my way through The Austen Project. I actually enjoyed Sense & Sensibility more than I did Emma: A Modern Retelling, which is inversely proportionate to my level of enjoyment of Austen's novels. But, like Austen's novels, even the ones I don't enjoy as much as still good.

Next up I'm reading The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod to fill in my Travel Writing square on my BINGO card, W is for Wasted because my Mom recommended it, and Jurassic Park from my summer reading list.

Visit The Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly reading link up to see what this is all about.  If you want to see all of the books I've read this year (61 so far!) check out my Pinterest page.
{Note: Links to are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.}

Friday, May 22, 2015

Garden Update - Now We're Getting Somewhere!

It's been a few weeks since I gave a garden update. I guess any time I had to be thinking about the garden I wanted to be in it! We've had a lot of beautiful weather, and plenty of rain. Everything is lush - including the weeds.

We are very close to harvesting lettuce and strawberries - maybe tonight after work?

Here are the details of my gardening so far this year:

Giant: Onion sets $3.34
Home Depot: Mulch, soil, grass seed $40.00
Garden Center: Plants $26.24 + a gift card I got for Christmas
Seeds from $44
Mulch: $90

Total: $203.58

Harvests (pricing comes from my local grocery stores and
1 large jar of dried rosemary: $8.55
1 bunch of daffodils: $2.49
3 bunches of mixed herbs: $3

Total: $14.04

Total Profit/Loss: ($189.54)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Summer Reading List

Summer's almost here and I've been busy gathering my summer reading list! I know it's kind of a nerdy thing to do, but it's something I've enjoyed putting together since I was a kid. I settled on 15 books. I normally read about 10 books a month so this should be do-able between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Here's my list:
(Click on any of the pictures for a description from


Inspiration for my list came from family and friends, my lists of books I want to re-read this year, Books on the Nightstand Book BINGO, and Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide.  I tried to get a good mix of books that would help me fill in my BINGO squares, a scary book to read down the Cape, some breezy back yard reads, and a few things to keep my mind going.

{Note: Links to are affiliate links. thanks for your support!}

Monday, May 18, 2015

Back In The Swing of Things Menu & Goals

Whew, it's been a solid two weeks of eat what you can when you can type situations. Yesterday, a lot of our activities ended for the year, and my jaw finally unclenched. I started hearing noise about summer league soccer and I put my foot down! For these 10 weeks we are reclaiming our time for the family! Part of project time reclamation is starting to eat dinner again like normal people.

Mon -- Leftover buffet, salads
Tue -- Vegetable beef soup, rolls, salad
Wed -- Crock pot ribs, slaw, noodles
Thu -- Pizza, salad
Fri -- Birthday party

Breakfasts -- pumpkin bread, yogurt, fruit

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, granola

(Linked to: Menu Plan Monday)

This Week's Goals:

1) Home: Clean out home office. Sell or donate what we don't need.
2) Garden: Plant beans, okra, and cukes. Weed veggie garden and front hedge.
3) Writing: Write 5,000 words. Follow up on article pitches.
4) Reading: Review one ARC book. Create summer reading list.

Have a great week!