Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Review and June Goals

In my flower bed
Monthly Review - May 2015


The three things I’m most proud of from this past month are:

1. How nice my outdoor space is beginning to look. Mowing and trimming help. But rain helps the most.

2. I read four books. Than is good for me. I am a slow reader usually. I read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, The Silent Gift by Michael Landon, Jr., The Life Changing Magic of Tyding Up by Marie Kondo and Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson.

3. I have memorized James 1- 1-13 so far in my quest to reach James 1- 1- 27. We are going to be memorizing until August.


The three things I’m most grateful for from this past month are:
1. I am always grateful for my family. My sons and three grandchildren are my reason for getting up each day.

2.  I am grateful that Darian found a summer job that he likes and is paying him well.

3. I am thankful I am able to pay for Harley to go to church camp as well as basketball camp. That will keep her from driving me crazy with boredom!

The most impactful lesson I learned this past month is: What I learned this past month is while the grieving process continues it doesn't feel as heavy as it was. I still miss him every single day. But the load seems lighter.


Looking ahead to June, I am…

super excited about: I am super excited about planting some perennials in the flower beds. _________________________________________________________

going to experiment with: _The Total Ten program. I was going to do it in May but got side-tracked. So maybe June will be a good month. There are lots of fresh veggies in this month. __________________________________________________

fully committed to: I don't know if I am fully committed to anything. It seems I have trouble being fully committed. I have to work on learning how to become fully committed. How's that?__________________________________________________________

planning to read: The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak  It seems like everyone I know has read this and now I will take it on!!!!___________________________________________________________

curious to learn more about: I am curious to learn more about why one of my orchids (a cymbidium) has only bloomed once. I have had it for years. I need to see what I can do about getting it to bloom again. So I plan to study it this month. _________________________________________________

I am also still working on my yearly goals which revolve around: Attitude, Home, health, spiritual growth, and budget!!

created for you, with love, by Nicole Antoinette of

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dear Friday

Friday means time to write letters. Feel free to join me in Dear Friday Letters to sum up your week!

Dear Darian: I am so proud of you. You have ended your first week at your first job. And you have not complained once about how early you have to get up. Or the long days. Or of all the rain. Now I know I just won't feel right to ask you to mow and trim on your day off this weekend. So don't sweat it. Harley and I have it covered. We're doing it tomorrow. Keep dreaming about that first paycheck!!

Dear Harley: You are taking to your weekly cooking like a duck to water. Great job tonight. Not only was that the BEST hamburger helper, ever; but to also steam asparagus and open a can of cranberry sauce. 5 Stars to the chef*****

Dear Paige: Can't wait to see you and your dad on Sunday. When you guys don't come over it is such a long week. I know dad is working a bunch of overtime. Remind him of his daughter and his family here :) And I'm making brisket for you on Sunday!!

Dear Brother: Hope your trip is a good one. 2 weeks is a long visit. Getting us ready for the move aren't you? Will miss you for coffee during the week and on Sunday. Drive safe!

Dear Hot Flash: What the hell!! I thought I was over these. Where did you come from. I am just sitting here minding my own business and you sneak up on me and I am drenched. How long will this BS last? Maybe someone forgot to tell you that I am 64 years old! Go away!!

Dear Mother Nature: You really didn't think I would forget you this week, did you? I was so dismayed to hear the thunder and see the lightening last night after midnight. And then to hear it pouring outside. I will admit that I groaned loudly. But then the sun came out today and it was beautiful. More of this please.

Can't wait to see what you guys have to say this week. If you write letters let me know in the comments and I will come pay you a visit!!

Kill Alex Cross



Overview from Barnes and Nobel:

The only wayDetective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest case he's ever been part of. The President's son and daughter have been abducted from their school - an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn't want Cross too close.
To stop Alex CrossA deadly contagion in the DC water supply threatens to cripple the capital, and Alex sees the looming shape of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat-out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes Cross completely over the edge.
Is to kill himWith each hour that passes, the chance of finding the children alive diminishes. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. Even the highest security clearance doesn't get him any closer to the kidnapper - and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes. A full-throttle thriller with unstoppable action, unrestrained emotion, and relentless suspense, Kill Alex Cross is the most gripping Alex Cross novel James Patterson has ever written.
Some of the best books I have ever read were written by James Patterson. It was the Alex Cross books that got me hooked on reading mystery-thrillers. But this book is not one of them.
I hope that James Patterson is not losing the ability to write a good book. This book had two story-lines (possibly three) and none of them seem to be connected. And the title was confusing because the book had NOTHING to do with anyone trying to kill Alex Cross. This is my plea to James Patterson not to ruin the Alex Cross series. Put it to bed quietly with Alex retiring with wife Bree and children. Maybe even Nana Mama dying. But don't ruin the series for me, please!
I guess if you are an Alex Cross fan you should read this one. It is the 18th in the series. I hope 19 is better! I still have some catching up to do before the 23rd book comes out this November. If I can make it through the rest of them!!
See my other review below by Marie Kondo!


The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up

This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

I wish I could tell you the reason it took me so long to read this 126 page book was because I was busy tidying up! But that is not true. This book just leaves me shaking my head. I guess I don't truly appreciate the Japanese way. Miss Kondo has been an organizing guru (her words) all her life. She used to organize her brother and sister's room for fun!! What???

Two things I learned from this book: 1.I don't appreciate the things I own enough. I do not thank my purse for the hard work it does for me. I have not allowed my socks time to have a vacation when they are not doing the job I purchased them to do. (tongue in cheek). 2. I never need to buy another organizing tool. There are plenty around my house.

However, with all that being said, I don't think the whole book is bad. One of the good things was the way in which she organizes by categories. I just don't know if I have the time it would require to take all the clothes in the house and pile them onto the floor and then touch each item separately as I asked: Does this bring me joy? And then move on to books, papers, mementos, etc. This would take me years and the mess while I was doing it would cause me too much stress.

I can't say whether I recommend this book or not. I did quite a bit of eye-rolling and head shaking my way through it! But I made it to the end. Now if it was a REAL book, not on my Nook, I would hold it up and ask: Did you bring me joy......nope! Onto the donate pile it goes.

Next post: My review of Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Do you remember that song of long-ago: Where Have all The Flowers Gone? It was sang by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I don't know why I thought of this song today when I had some errands.I was driving through the streets of my city. I noticed the absence of children. Where Have all the Children Gone? Not quite the same words but you know what I mean.

I drove by a few parks and the swings hung like straight little soldiers. There were no squeals as little kids flew down the slipper slide. There were no screams from the merry-go-round. Just silence. And today wasn't the only day I noticed this. Where are the kids?

When I was a young girl we looked forward to summertime with such zeal. When we woke in the morning, we zipped through our chores, and out the door we went. In fact, even if it hadn't been our choice, our moms would have kicked us out the door. We raced as fast as we could to the playground gathering spot and planned the day. We didn't have to be back home until it started getting dark. Or mom called us with her whistle. We never missed that loud whistle.

We swung on the swings and reached for the sky. We pumped our legs to see who could get highest. Sometimes, if you were lucky, one of the brothers would push us. The idea was to go as high as you could and then jump from the swing and land on the ground. I am surprised no one ever broke a leg.

an old playground
Sometimes we would swipe a sheet of wax paper from the kitchen before we left. We used to sit on it and fly down the slide. On a hot, sunny day that wax paper would make the slide as slick as it ever got. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

When it got too warm, we would sit in the shade of the 'office' building and haul out the jacks. We hardly ever left home without them. I was always up for a game of onesies,
twosies, threesies. And after we were really good then we played No bouncie, Two bouncie or around the world. It was so much fun. And I was pretty good at it. I tried teaching my granddaughters when they were younger but they didn't stay with it for long.

Pratt's swimming pool
Another memory from my 'summers of long ago' was walking in the ditches, finding pop bottles and turning them into the little corner grocery store, Jordans. We would get enough money to pay our way into the swimming pool for the afternoon. Pratt, Kansas has the second largest pool in the state. When I was little I thought that pool was huge. And I spent many, many wonderful afternoon swimming, splashing, screaming, drowning each other. And later on, boy-watching! Ah the memories.

We had a huge park. Lemon Park. Where the baseball diamonds were. Where my brothers played and we went to watch. Mom would park the car in the outfield and watch from the car. My sister and I would run around catching fireflies and chasing other kids. I remember one summer mom signed me up for
Lemon Park in Pratt
softball. I HATED it. I couldn't bat. I couldn't run. I couldn't throw. She only made me do it once, that I remember. But Lemon Park is where I went to Girl Scout Day Camp. Where we made sit-upons and other crafts. Where we cooked Girl Scout Stew in the campfire. Lemon Park had 117 acres to explore. And we did plenty of exploring.

Pratt, Kansas water towers were labeled sometime in the 1950's
News spread like wild-fire when the water tower over-flowed (do they do that still?) All the kids would flock to the park to stand under the water coming from the tower. So refreshing. So much fun.

I wonder, Where have all the children gone? Are they in the house watching TV. Playing XBOX. Texting on their phones. I am officially an old lady because I am missing the 'good old days'.

Do you ever wonder where the kids are when you are out and about? Do you see kids outside playing?

Monday, May 25, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook May 25th Edition

Once again it is time for The Simple Woman's Daybook. You can link up by going to The Simple Woman's Blog.

For Today...
We need to take a moment of our day to be thankful for those who gave their lives to keep us free!

Outside my window...
Outside my window it is 64* and raining. It has been raining for two days. I am ready for the sun to shine. But not too hot. Because it will be so humid with all the wet! I've seen my first hummingbirds at the feeder. That always brings me a smile!

I am thinking...
I am thinking how short our lives are and how I have wished away so much of it. You know when you are 15 and you can't wait to be 16. And then you can't wait to be 18. Then it's 21! Now I want all that time back again. And it's too late. So I just want to live for today and not wish it away.

I am thankful...
I am thankful for our rain. Really, really I am. But enough please for a bit. I think we have moved out of the drought. And I promise not to be crying in August because we need rain. I promise! (I think )

I am wearing...
I am wearing black pants and a striped aqua shirt. Barefoot as usual for me.

I am creating...
I am creating this blog post. And my weekly menu. And I am thinking about my mantle and will make it a patriotic theme. That will cover Memorial Day, Flag Day, and July 4th. How smart is that? Won't have to change it until mid-July!!!!

I am going...
I am going to (hopefully) get the flower beds weeded in the next couple of days. We have had so much rain it should make pulling them easier.

I am wondering...
I am wondering then how much mulch I need to try to choke those little devils out. I like to pull weeds.....(really, I do) but I don't want to do it every other day.

I am reading...
I am still reading Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I'm not reading as much so therefore my books will stay on my lists longer! Well, duh. That only makes sense doesn't it?

I am hoping...
I am hoping that life continues the way it has the past few days. We seem to be on an even road right now. Missing Richard but not mourning as much. Doing lots of driving for Darian's job. It is a 12 mile round trip twice a day. Starting next week I will be making a 12 mile round trip twice a day (in addition to Darian's) to take Harley in for basketball camp. And that is at 6:30 in the morning. Yikes!!

I am learning...

I am learning the older I get the more patient I am about things. Or maybe I just don't have the energy to get too involved.

In my garden...

Soon my garden patio will be alive in the color of 6 huge red geraniums. They are currently doing their duty at the cemetery!

In my kitchen...
Here Is the Weekly Menu
Monday...Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus
Tuesday...Pepperoni Pizza Roll Ups
Wednesday...Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Chips, Dill pickles
Thursday...Grilled Chicken Salad
Friday...Harley's Hamburger Helper
Saturday...Orange & Onion Brisket, Hash brown potato casserole, steamed carrots
Sunday...Meat loaf, Garlic Mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

A favorite quote for today...
This fits for Memorial Day doesn't it?

A peek into one of my days...
This week is not quite as busy yet. Harley doesn't have anything going on. So it's just getting Darian up and off to work each morning. I think after we weed the flower beds we will start going through clothes. I know she is going to be thrilled......Ha! Ha!

One of my favorite things...

One of my favorite things is finding new blogs to enjoy. Make new friends. Please see my post script below to find a new blog for you to enjoy!  We should share the love!


From the board room...
From My Pinterest Board:
Crafting Ideas for The Teens
I have this idea pinned which I found on Yes, Missy A Lifestyle Blog. If you follow the link you will see all the fun things you can make with T-shirt yarn. I have a basket full of tee shirts we are going to cut up and roll balls of yarn. When winter comes we will be ready to start making some rugs, head-bands, and bracelets. Won't this be fun? Of course it will.

Post Script

One of my favorite blogs to read is Goodnight GramsBlog. I can't remember when or why I first found her blog. She is a grandma raising a granddaughter after the death of her daughter. One of the things I read on her blog that made me want to keep coming back was on a post she wrote for the Blog Blast for Peace Day way back in November 2009. I haven't been reading her blog for that long but I often go back and read from the beginning. Here is what caught my eye:

"Peace for me is knitting.  Peace for me is speaking softly.  Peace for me is a good book and the time to read it.   Peace for me is snowshoeing in the woods by the light of a full moon.  Peace for me is hearing my favorite hymn sung.  Peace for me is hugging my granddaughter AND her great-grandmother (my mother) on the same day!  Not many of us are lucky enough to do that.  Peace for me is the formal request I made with God for having to live on after a mother’s worst loss.  (We are missing a generation in this girl group.) Peace for me is trying to find a way to leave it as a legacy to others, too."

Now I follow her adventures in knitting, trips she takes with Goodnight, memories of Officer Friendly (her late husband) Alphabet dinners, and her life in general. I want to give a shout-out to Gram. And I hope you will all check out her blog.

Do you have favorite blogs to share with us? Go over to Peggy's and see who is posting The Simple Woman's Blog daybook today.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Beef Enchilada Lasagna Roll-Ups

Finally!!! After being on my menu plan more times than I can remember, I finally made the Beef Enchilada Lasagna Roll-Ups. And they were a big hit with the kiddos. Take my word they were honestly delicious. We are not food photographers here! But you will get the idea.

And here is the recipe:
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 8 lasagna noodles
  2. 1 pound lean ground beef
  3. 1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning mix
  4. 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  5. 1 (10 oz.) can mild red enchilada sauce
  6. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. sour cream
  2. salsa
  3. diced tomato
  4. guacamole
  5. sliced olives
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Boil lasagna noodles in a large pot of water, until al dente, according to package directions. Drain water, then lay noodles out flat onto parchment paper.
  2. Meanwhile, cook and brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning (and water it calls for on packet). Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour half the can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  4. Spread 2 Tablespoons of cream cheese down the center of each lasagna noodle. Top cream cheese with a few Tablespoons of meat mixture and a little cheddar cheese. Roll up tight. Repeat with all noodles, cheese and meat mixture.
  5. Place lasagna rolls in the prepared baking dish. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the tops and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake rolls, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with all your favorite toppings!
  1. Yields: 8 lasagna rolls
  2. Seves: 4 to 8

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dear Friday

Once again it is Friday. And a three day holiday weekend. I had almost forgotten. I promised Richard I would always decorate his parents graves, so I best get to crack-a-lackin' and get the flowers out to the cemetery. We plan to release balloons for my beloved. So now on to my letters.

Dear Mother Nature: I do hope you are not tired of hearing from me. Because I think I write to you more than anyone else. I hope that is okay. I cannot believe I have turned the furnace back on. Come on and make up your mind. It is only 50*. Where is our happy medium going to be? Would you write me back, please?

Dear USD 313: Thanks for taking care of the grandkids for the past nine months. I'll take it from here now. I have some plans for them for the summer. I have some chores and some fun things listed. And I promise not to check the calendar too often to see when it is time for me to return them to you!

Dear Darian: Well today is the day! Your first day at your first job. You went to bed early. You have your work clothes ready. I hope you eat a good breakfast. I'll drive you across town. Send me a text when I should come back after you. I am really proud of you. And I love you!

Dear Brooke and Paige: I'll be thinking of you as you travel to Salt Lake City this weekend. Be safe. Feel my love for you as you make this pilgrimage to see your grandpa/great-grandpa one last time. Return home to us quickly.

Dear Beautiful White Butterfly: Thank you! (If you want to see what this letter is about, go here.)

There you have it. My letters for today. If you want to write some just leave me a comment and I'll come see you. Maybe one day I'll figure out a link-up again!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ten Months and The Wings of a Butterfly


Today marks 304 days! 304 nights that I have gone to sleep at night without him. Ten months! I cannot believe it has been 10 months. 43 weeks and 3 days that he has not filled my space. 437, 760 minutes that I have not seen his face. Or heard his voice. He is  simply gone! But not forgotten. Never forgotten.

Sometime ago, I cannot remember when or why, I heard a song by Jimmy Scott. Jimmy Scott was a jazz vocalist. He was big in the early 1950's. Then he faded away. Later he made a come back and even had a spot on Twin Peaks (I never watched that show, but I know many who did). It is eerie to me that he died on June 12, 2014; only days before Richard. I heard this song before Richard died. I never gave it another thought. Until yesterday!

Yesterday I was in the backyard. I was filling the bird feeders and thinking about Richard. He loved to draw the birds to our yard. We have a variety of feeders. I think I have told you about them before. And we put out corn, bread, chips and peanuts for the squirrels and the turkeys. Richard used to sit on the patio, or at the dining room table, for hours watching the birds come and go. And loving the antics of those pesky squirrels. While I was filling the feeders yesterday a  pure white butterfly flew around me. It landed on the trunk of the tree. It landed on the shepherd's hook that holds a feeder. I thought of the song I had heard. Sang by Jimmy Scott. A shudder passed through me. I cried. I smiled through my tears. I stood quietly and watched it fly off towards Heaven! I believe! I am a believer! And that was a sign. Thank you Richard. I have been missing you so much. Thank you!

I hope all of you will take the time to enjoy the song. It is so beautiful. Have you ever received a sign from a departed loved one? Do you think they somehow find a way to communicate with us?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Petoskey and Pine

Remember during my A to Z Challenge when I did my first product review? The winners were announced on Wendy's Blog, A Day in the Life on the Farm. Sadly, out of the 1200 entries into the contest, none of them were one of my special readers.  Look at what I received in the mail yesterday from Petoskey and Pine.

I was so impressed with the free bar of soap and lip balm they sent me I placed my very own order a few days ago. The box was delivered to the door by the postman who said as he handed over the package, "something good-smelling has arrived."
Here is what I ordered:
  • Lipbalms in Tangerine, Lemongrass, and Peppermint. All smell great. I have tried the Tangerine and my lips taste like I just ate a Tangerine. Yum!
  • Soy Candles in Lemon Verbena and Raspberry Sangria (this one smells like a little bit of Heaven)!
  • Soaps in Orange Cedar, Grapefruit May, Grizzly Itch, Orange Tea Tree, and Mint Flower. It will be hard to decide which to use first.
  • The adorable little pouch you see in the picture was a FREEBIE! A sample bar (very generously sized, I might say) called Floral Hearts. It smells wonderful and is also a beautiful bar of soap.
  • There was also a handwritten note of thanks for my order. When else have you received a handwritten note when you order something online? I am going to just put it out there that the people behind Petoskey and Pine know how to do business.
  • P.S. I would love it if they would start making lotions too!! Hint. Hint.
I would love to have all of my blogging friends pay a visit to Petoskey and Pine. And take my word for it that you will love their products. Place an order. And tell them Paula sent you!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Time for Wednesday Hodgepodge hosted by From This Side of the Pond.(This is my very first time....squeal) She will post a list of questions on Tuesday. You answer them on your blog and then on Wednesday link up on From This Side of The Pond. Sounds easy? Sound like fun? Let's get with it then

1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

I can't remember that I made anyone laugh yesterday. It wasn't a very laughable day here. However, I chuckled to myself when Rumer and Val won Dancing With The Stars....all those naysayers. What do you have to say now. That girl dances more beautifully than any dancer I have ever watched on this show. Yay Rumer and Val!

2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

Can I go to ______'s house, Grandma?

 3. Rhododendrons or have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?

I have neither at my house. There is a large bush of rhododendrons down the street. Beautiful! If I have to chose, that is what I would chose!!

from google

from google

 4. May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

I worked at a couple of restaurants when I was younger. Neither was a great experience. The first one I was just a 16 year old girl with a slimy, sleazy boss that you didn't want to get stuck in the kitchen with. And the second one I spilled a tray of beer all over the head bosses on training day, before the opening of a new place.  In my case I would have to say the bosses were the worst part and drunk customers. The best part was the TIPS! Yea man.

 5. What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

Adult women should quit wearing leggings as pants. And if I never see another man wearing a 'wife-beater' I'll be okay.

 6. Name a writer who inspires tell us why.

This is hard. I read a lot. I like a lot of different styles. I like Jodi Picoult, but I'm not sure if I would say she inspires me. I just don't know of any one that will fit the bill. Sorry!

 7. What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

This sums up my week. My everyday. I am so good at putting off today until tomorrow. Do you do that?

8.  My own random thought of the day is:

School is out tomorrow. Where the heck did this past nine months go? Tomorrow will also be the anniversary (10 months) of Richard's death. I miss him just as much today as I did the day he left. Maybe more. The pain isn't easier. My days are no less lonely. The nights last forever. There is a huge hole in our lives. I have my memories of him and the wonderful life we had together. But that is not enough......until we meet again!!