Thursday, July 23, 2015

Love Me A Sculpture Garden

 
Sharing photos from a recent visit to the Smithsonian's sculpture garden. 
 
 




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Quick Lit July 2015


 
Is there anything better than reading outside when the weather is nice? I have been devouring books since summer started, and I don't plan on slowing down any time soon. Here are the highlights from June:
 
Confession time: I was assigned To Kill a Mockingbird like everyone else who went to high school in America, but I only read the Cliffs Notes. I remedied that situation this year when I listened to Sissy Spacek read the audio version. Wow! What a story!

How to Eat a Cupcake was chick-lit with an edge. I appreciated the darkness among the descriptions of organic produce and icing. If you like books like this I recommend Backpack by Emily Barr.

 

Jurassic Park was one of the books I wanted to re-read this year because of the much anticipated movie that came out last month. I still haven't seen the movie, but I re-read this book and still love it. I forgot it ended on a cliff hanger. I need to read the next book ASAP.

 
I enjoyed the recipes for homemade face masks in The French Beauty Solution, but not so much the idea of a grape fast. So wouldn't you know that since I read this book I have been craving grapes, but haven't tried a single face mask yet.
 
 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 (72 so far!) check out my Pinterest page.
{Note: Links to amazon.com are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.}

Monday, July 13, 2015

This Week's Menu & Goals

We had a somewhat cool morning the other day, so I cooked up a boat load of quick breads and muffins for the freezer. Yay!

Here's my menu for the week. The cool weather is over so I'm going back to summer food.

Mon -- Ratatouille with pasta
Tue -- Eggs, muffins, & fruit
Wed -- Pizza with salad
Thu -- Leftover buffet
Fri -- Out with family

Breakfasts -- berries, yogurt, muffins

Lunches -- Salad, leftovers, hummus + rice cakes

(Linked to: Menu Plan Monday)

Last Week's Goals:

Kitchen: Clean out freezer, organize cupboards, make snickerdoodles and freezer jam {made muffins instead}
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

This week's goals:

Kitchen: Clean fridge, freezer & cabinets
House: Catch up on laundry & ironing, org daughter's drawer
Garden: Weed! Decide on fall crops, and plant some swiss chard
Work: Write 2,000 words, review one book

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Last Friday Night's Binge

On my long list of poor decisions I've made this summer, last Friday night's binge is near the top.

I started early that day. Just a little taste to get me going before the kids woke up. I didn't touch it again for the rest of the day, but I thought about it. A lot. Like all day. I took the kids to a festival, out for ice cream, played with them, fed them dinner, bathed them, and put them to bed. It was a busy day, and the whole time it was calling to me with a voice that was very hard to resist.

When the kids were in bed at last, I didn't want to seem eager in front of my husband. I knew already it wasn't going to be pretty, and I didn't want him to catch on to what I was doing. I sat on my hands and watched TV with him. (Well, he watched TV, I watched the clock.) At some point I must have dozed off because suddenly it was 2 am and I was finally alone.

I pulled it out from under the couch cushion, and I didn't put it away until I finished at 5:30 am. I passed out then for about an hour or so, until my daughter shook me awake to ask for waffles. I was sorry she saw me like that - rumpled and passed out on the couch. We were supposed to leave early that morning for a hiking trip, and I was in no shape to get us together.

I knew I owed my family an explanation and an apology. But first I needed to shake the tastes of sewer and cardboard from my mouth. I headed for Dunkins. I got a medium coffee for me, and a large for my husband. It was a bribe. I was worried my poor choice was going to ruin his day off.

When we were all fed I sat down and took a deep breath. It was hard to look my family in the eyes. "Guys, I'm sorry." I said. "Mommy isn't her self. She doesn't feel well, and will need you to be patient today. She stayed up all night reading."

"Oh Mommy not again."

I could see the disapproval in their eyes. I wish I could say this would be the last time, but I know I'll do it again.

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.

Expenses:
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 burpee.com: $44
Mulch: $90

Total: $203.58

Harvests (pricing comes from my local grocery stores and penzeys.com):
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)