Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Carol Knits hosts Ten on Tuesday! Today she wants us to celebrate what we love about our homes. Don't you think we often complain and gripe and think of all we don't like; yet don't talk about what it is we DO like? I know that I am like that. So here it is today.

10 Things I love about My Home
My home
1. I love that this is the home that Richard and I bought together 30 years ago.
2. I really, really love that I have no mortgage. Paid it off in  2013. A wonderful day indeed.
3. I love how it looks from the street. Fresh white paint with a cool sage-green front door.
4. I love my bay window in the reading room.
5. I love having a reading room. This room houses a comfy futon, my hutch converted to a bookcase, and Richard's miniature tractors and farm equipment collection. (Need to figure out what I will do with those).
6. I love my kitchen. It is small. Some think too small but I like it that way. It has a dishwasher which is great! You can sit at the counter and eat. And it is open to the dining room.
7. I love how big the living room is. Big enough to have a full couch and a love seat; 2 big recliners, a full wall entertainment set and my desk. There is also room for a big coffee table and two end tables. And plenty of room to bring in the ficus tree to winter indoors.
8. I love all the windows in my house. A lot of sunlight! And I rarely cover them with curtains. Doesn't bother me to live in a house with the windows open.
9. I love that we have lots of space between houses here. No feelings of being smothered by the neighbors! And the neighbors are nice! Friendly, but not too friendly. Just the way I like a neighborhood to be.
10. I love that we have 3 bathrooms. Well, I think they call it 2 1/2 baths. Because one is only a toilet. But we use it a lot. Never have to wait our turn to use the bathroom here. Although, there is only one shower. And we take turns there. I could remedy that by putting in another shower in the main room. We'll see!
There you go! What do you love about your house? Please share with me!

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook June 29th Edition

For Today...
Today is Monday, June 29, 2015. Another week gone and almost at the end of another month. This year is flying by. Soon will be one year without Richard. One year of sunrises and sunsets. One year of our living on! One year!

Outside my window...

Outside my window is a typical June day. The skies are clear and perfectly blue. Earlier today it was pretty cloudy but that has all cleared away. The temp is currently 84* and we are on our way to a high of 94* but with lower humidity it doesn't seem as hot! So a nice day here in Kansas!!

I am thinking...

I am thinking about my sore throat and ear ache and hoping I am not coming down with something. Hopefully, will disappear soon. 

I am thankful...

As I always am, I am thankful for my family. Thankful for Paige and Justin. Thankful for Darian and Harley. Thankful for all my brothers and sister!

I am hearing...
I am listening to ITunes on the computer. Right now it is playing Girl Crush by Little Big Town. Cute song. I have to admit that it is because of Harley that I purchased this song. I like it too now!



I am creating...

Besides the creation of this post and my weekly menu plan, I am going to create some more closet and drawer space for everyone this week. Isn't that something we all need more of. I am sure there are quite a few things that Harley can no longer wear. She is growing by leaps and bounds. The girl is now 5'7" and still going skyward!

I am going...

I am going to finally make myself take down Richard's shirts from the utility room hanging rod. I may run them through the washer one last time. Then bag them up for Paige to work on the quilt she wants to make from them. Sigh!

I am pondering...

I am pondering upon the planner I want to purchase. I keep all of our appointments on a Cozi calendar both on the computer and on my phone. But I want a planner that will cover our full lives. A place I can keep track of budget, household chores, snippets of our lives that I might want to reflect upon, and ideas for my blog. So I am looking to have something on paper too!

I am reading...


I am reading The Book Thief, by Australian author Markus Zusak. The book was published in 2005 and remained on the New York Times best seller list for over 230 weeks. I can remember when it was "THE" book. I wasn't reading much then. I am enjoying it, so far. 

I am hoping...

I am hoping to work on a huge pile of laundry today. I didn't do any laundry over the weekend and it sure piles up quickly. Harley is in the reading room wrapped in a blanket enjoying a teen romance novel. I'll rope her into helping me. She is starting to like to help around the house! And that is something I am happy to teach her. This morning's lesson was on loading the dishwasher. I let her do it first and then I showed her how she could make more room for everything and what the proper placement was for plastics and etc. Might as well learn the right way if you are going to learn. She has been bugging me about doing laundry so I guess I will soon "grant" her that privilege. Maybe you can tell I am a bit of a control freak on household chores........

I am memorizing....
I am still memorizing James 1 with the Do Not Depart group. This week we are taking a break so I am working on reviewing James 1:1-20 verses. If you have not yet tried memorizing with Scripture Typer you must go and try it out. It is fun and an excellent way to memorize Bible verses. I {heart} it!

In my backyard...

In my backyard there is grass growing. Tomorrow may be mowing day. There are weeds in the flower beds. Will get right on that too. The geraniums need dead-headed again. And a little water probably won't hurt. It is time to rotate the ficus tree. I can't believe how big it is getting since I took it outside.  

In my kitchen...
Monday...Sloppy Joes and French Fries
Tuesday...Chicken Fettuccine in Alfredo Sauce
Thursday...Grilled tomato with Mozzarella Panini and chips 
Friday...Cheesy Taco Crunch Casserole
Saturday...Hamburgers and Hot dogs with Pasta salad and watermelon
Sunday...Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli


A favorite quote for today...



One of my favorite things...
One of my favorite things recently has been chopped salads with homemade salad dressing. This recipe has been my go to recipe this summer. It is Emeril Lagasse's recipe:


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil.

I make it in a small mason jar and if I am going to use it again tomorrow I leave it on the counter. If it will be awhile before I eat salad again I put it in the fridge and then bring it to room-temp before I serve it!Very tasty!


Post Script...
I have a very, very dear friend who lives in Phoenix, Arizona whose name is Myra. I have never met Myra in person but I feel as if I have known her forever. She writes at Respice, Prospice. She is a beautiful person. And funny! And somewhat cynical(her words) at times. I cannot remember when I first met Myra. She visits my blog regularly and I make return visits to hers. She has been there for me through thick and through thin. Holding me up. Encouraging me. Laughing with me. Crying with me. She's a keeper that's for sure. Go pay Myra a visit and tell her I sent you. She might even offer you a glass of wine and some encouragement. Love you Myra!!

It's now time to join Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog and see what all the ladies are doing today!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Letters

Another beautiful day in Kansas. And it's Friday. So here goes my Friday Letters!!
Dear Mom Nature: It's me again! This was a beautiful morning here in Kansas. Only 70* when I took Darian to work. That is a full 30* less than yesterday, late afternoon. Rolling the window down and letting the breeze blow through my hair was great! And here it is almost noon and it is only 80*. We were ready for a break from the heat.
Dear Backyard Birds: I love you guys. Have I told you that lately. I can hear you out there chirping as I type. I love the blue jays, the Cardinals, the doves, the Orioles, all the robins. I need to go buy another bag of feed. You are sure a hungry lot! I am sad that my hummingbird feeder fell and broke this morning. I'll bet it had some help from one of my squirrel friends. So I'll pick up another feeder for those little rapid-winged beauties too!
Dear Rozann: Thank you for your little text message accompanied by that sweet little bunch of alstromerias. I love how they made you think of me. I miss you. We need to work harder to see each other more often!
Dear A/C Repairman: I see you have cashed my check. But I'm still waiting for the crew who was supposed to come and do a total clean of the outside unit. I think I will shoot you a text today and make sure you haven't forgotten me. I know you are busy! It's that time of the year! But I don't want anymore problems with this unit when the heat is so intolerable.
Dear Friends: I'm searching for the perfect planner to help me become more organized. Do you have a certain paper planner that you like? How do you keep track of all your appointments and important days? Please share.
Hoping everyone has had a great week. Ah, the weekend is before us. Enjoy! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

American Sniper

Overview from Barnes and Nobel:

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film

Today I finally finished reading American Sniper. I am going to just tell it like it is as far as my opinion. I am sure I won't have a popular opinion, but to anyone who knows me, it doesn't matter. Because it is my opinion.

As I said before, if I had met Chris Kyle in person, I am sure I would never have liked him. He is very conceited and full of himself. Maybe that is how you have to be to be a sniper. I don't know. I always had the opinion that SEALS did not brag about what they did. But this guy was very full of himself and loved to brag. I just don't like those kinds of people.

The writing of the book, in my opinion, was terrible. It seemed dull and juvenile. I know  he had help from a writer but I just didn't feel like it read well. He seemed to skip around a lot. None of the characters were very well developed. Well except for Chris Kyle. That one I felt I got to know too well. I wonder, if in life, he was really just like this.

First of all I hate war. And this particular war is one I never agreed with. I don't understand why we, as Americans, feel it is okay to go into other countries and kill people just because we don't agree with their lifestyle. Isn't that what we hate so much about them coming into our country and trying to kill us? How do we justify all of this. It is probably not something I will ever be able to understand. 

I have heard people describe their feelings as they read this book: they laughed, they cried, they couldn't put the book down. Mostly I cringed, shuddered, and had to force myself to get to the end. Because I hate to not finish a book once I start it.

Killing insurgents in Iraq was one thing. I could (kind of) wrap my head around why that was being done. But all the bar fights and hazing ceremonies he described made me think more of adolescents trying to prove they are tough. Time for grown men to get over themselves. This was a grown man who had a family back in the United States. Although, according to him, they came in third in his life. He believed that it was God, Country, and then family. I couldn't be married to a man who always put me last.

I felt sorry for his wife throughout the book. I know she stayed with him because she loved him and she had vowed to stay through better or worse. I understand she is writing a book. This is a book I will want to read. Although, after his death, I am sure her views of the situation will be somewhat glazed over. Maybe not.

I want to end this with saying: Chris Kyle wanted the world to see him as a 'badass'. The only way I ended up seeing him was as 'bad' and an 'ass'. That is why I don't think I would have liked him.

I do plan to see the movie. Maybe I will have a better feel for him after seeing it.

With that being said I do respect the American soldiers for the job they have to do. I thank them for keeping our country free. But I don't have to like them!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by From This Side of the Pond. She posts the questions on Tuesday and we post on Wednesday. If you are so inclined go pay her a visit and link with all the lovely people.

1. June 23rd is National Pink Day. What's your favorite something pink?

Wow, if only I had known that yesterday was National Pink Day!! I don't think I have anything favorite that is pink. I am not, never have been, a huge fan of pink. Just not my color!

 2. What did you enjoy most about gym class when you were in school? How about the least?

Gosh, I don't think there is a darn thing I can think of that would classify under the title 'enjoy' for gym class. I hated gym class in high school. I was not at all athletic. I had just moved to town, from a much smaller town, so I was the new girl in school. A school that was probably three times the size of the school I had attended up until then. And the first hour of the day was gym class. Who does that to a sophomore girl who is entering high school for the first time? (Now most high schools start with Freshmen, but we started in our sophomore year because 'junior high school' (now middle school) encompassed 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. It was the later 1960's. Girls wore their hair long and stick-straight. Do you remember? I rolled my long, slightly wavy, hair on orange juice cans every night so that it would be straight by morning. What I wouldn't have done to have owned a flat iron back then. Sweet awesome! I got up really early and 'did' the hair and painstakingly applied my makeup. Foundation, powder, eye shadow, eyeliner, lipstick...the whole nine yards. Just so I could go to school to 1st hour P.E. and sweat it all off. We even had a period of swimming at the YMCA (which was next to our school). They provided us with ugly, ugly navy blue bloomer type suits and a white rubber hat to cover our hair. But it did not keep all the water out. No way! I can't even think of enough stories to tell you about my sophomore P.E. class. It was painful and humiliating. Changing clothes and taking showers, naked, in front of everyone. Sanitary napkins and sanitary belts excused no one. Thank God P.E. classes here are no longer like that. They don't even have showers at our high school in the P.E. locker room. And they don't have to change into a stupid looking gym uniform. Just shorts and a tee of any kind. I think schools have come a long way in the past 50 years.  

 3. What memory is brought to mind by the smell of roses?

The smell of roses reminds me of Richard. He loved roses. We used to have a rose garden in the back yard with over 100 varieties of roses. Every holiday that came around he brought me roses. And sometimes he brought me roses, Just Because!

 4. Do you prefer to read or write?

Gosh this is hard. I like to write. I like to get my feelings on paper. I like to create a story. But I love to read. Reading has always been my escape mechanism. I can lose myself in a book. I become part of the story. So I guess I have to say I prefer to read!

 5. Sam Keen is quoted as saying, 'Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.' Would you agree? Is laziness ever respectable? How will you be lazy this summer?

I used to never think it was okay to be lazy. We were raised to believe in hard work. It took hard work to succeed if you were born and raised poor. If you wanted to rise above poverty you were going to have to work hard. All the time! Sunup to sundown! Little time off. Now that I am older I am more on the lazy side. I know that whatever needs to get done will get done. Someday. Somehow. By someone. Not going to stress myself out about it now. And what better time to be lazy that in the summer. It is just too hot to get too worked up. I will be lazy like I'm always lazy. Doesn't matter if it is summer.

 6. The Florida Keys, Disney World, or a resort somewhere on the Gulf Coast...which Florida destination would you choose (and why) if the trip were today?

Gosh, another hard one. I think if I am leaving today I will chose a resort. One that has everything I need right in one place. Good food, great drinks, a nice white, sandy beach. Plenty of people to wait on me. A pile of books to read. My sunglasses. A nice beach chair with an umbrella for when I am tired of the sun. My meals delivered to my room so I don't have to mingle with strangers. A nice soaking tub in the room. A deck off my room if I don't want to venture any farther than that. Makes me want to start the search. But I am sure I'd have to find a teen friendly place and share the peace with a couple of kids! That would be okay if they would just leave me alone most of the time.

 7. What question do you hate to answer?

For the past year, since Richard died, I have hated answering the question "how are you doing?" No one really wants to hear how I am REALLY doing. It wouldn't be comfortable. I would want to say, "how do you think I am doing? My husband is dead and the sun keeps right on shining." Enough of that. You don't really want to hear me continue. So I won't.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Do you notice a lot of "road kill" when you are driving. I know there has always been dead animals in and one the side of the road. But lately it seems like the numbers have increased. Today, while driving Harley to Basketball Camp, I saw skunks, squirrels, 2 deer, birds, and opossum dead in the road. I wonder why we are seeing so much more wild life being hit by cars. Dodging those deer is a feat. Hitting a deer can total a car. It takes defensive driving!

Let's go to From This Side of The Pond and see what everyone else is pondering this week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook June 22nd Edition

For Today...
Today is June 22, 2015. Yesterday was the 11 month anniversary of Richard's death. I think that will explain my upsurges of grief lately. Just so hard to believe it has almost been a year. It seems like only yesterday and my house looks like he just stepped away. I have to get started doing something about his things!!

Outside my window...
Outside my window it is summer in Kansas. Hot! Blue skies. Sun shine. Hot! Light winds blowing hot air. It is hot! 95* with 45% humidity. We are supposed to reach a high of 100* today. I am sure it will happen.

I am thinking...
I having been thinking of Richard today. We celebrated our first Father's Day without him and it was bittersweet. Justin came over and spent the day with us. We released balloons for Richard. We cooked chicken kabobs on the grill and ate them with corn on the cob and lettuce salad. It was all very good! Richard would have loved how the day went. I hope he was close.

I am thankful...
I am thankful for air-conditioning. Can you image living without it. When I grew up we did not have A/C in our house. Sometimes we had a water cooler. Mostly we did not. We had fans and open windows. I remember one time mom hanging wet sheets and blowing a fan through them to cool us off. Summers were hot. But we survived. Maybe we have just become a pampered nation. But I love my A/C! Don't you?

I am hearing....
I am hearing General Hospital in the background. Harley is chilling in front of the TV today. She had early a.m. basketball practice and came home hot and tired. She is 15 now and right at that age to enjoy a good soap. Do you watch the soaps anymore. I hardly ever do. All the good ones are off the air!

I am creating...
I am creating my post and my weekly menu. Are you feeling creative? Share with us what you are up to!

I am going...
I am going to clean the kitchen and do a few loads of laundry later today. Nothing too strenuous because it is just too hot!

I am wondering...
I am wondering how Darian is doing today in the heat. I hope he is staying hydrated. He is still loving his summer job (he's working for a lawn-mowing service) and especially loves it on payday. He has a nice tan (although it is of the Farmer variety, if you know what I mean). He rarely grumbles about the heat. He comes home hot and tired at the end of the day. That is good for all teens, don't you think?

I am reading...
I am still reading American Sniper. Almost finished. Then I'll share my review. A sneak peek....I don't think I would have liked this guy if I had met him in person.




In my kitchen...
In the kitchen this week we are keeping it simple. Harley chose most of the menus for each day. She has become very helpful in the kitchen.
Monday...Fish sticks and tater tots
Wednesday...Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Thursday...Harley's Hamburger Helper
Friday...Chicken sandwiches and chips
Saturday...Green Bean Soup (Paige requested)
Sunday...Cream Cheese Chicken
I want to share a recipe with you here:

Italian Bread, Sliced
Tomato, Sliced 
Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced
Olive Oil

For each sandwich, brush olive oil on 1 side of 2 slices of bread.  Flip bread olive oil side down and brush each with pesto.  Layer tomatoes and cheese on one of the slices and top with the other.  Place on a griddle or in a fry pan over med high heat with a cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.  Cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted.

This recipe is from Wendy's Blog A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy blogs about food! And life in Michigan. And food! And most of the recipes makes my mouth water. When we have grilled cheese this week I'll make a couple of these to see what my kids think. I may have trouble getting them to try pesto. She has a recipe for pesto on her site if you want to make your own.

A favorite quote for today...
Not a world-shattering famous quote. But I'll take going to the ocean anyway I can get it. I would love to hear the roar and feel the spray of salt water on my face.


A peek into one of my days...

Harley and granny....(egads I need makeup!)

Darian sent a message to Papa on his balloon

One of my favorite things...
One of my favorite things is seeing how far Harley has come with her photography. She loves her camera. I have signed her up for a beginning camera course later this summer. She took a picture of this wasp on the jelly-feeder yesterday. See that bit of cotton stuck on the cup? We have piles of that stuff all around from the Cottonwood trees. I will be so glad when it is all gone. It gets into everything. I have to sweep the garage daily and the A/C gets packed with the stuff. But the majestic cottonwoods all around us are beautiful! 

Post Script
This week I want to share with you my friend Betty's Blog : A Bench With a View. Betty is one of my staunchest supporters. I can always expect to be up-lifted by comments from Betty. She writes about her life on A Bench With a View. She recently moved from California to Arizona so there is usually some amazing photography on her posts. I met Betty during the A to Z Challenge a couple of years in the past. Love you Betty!!

I am linking with The Simple Woman's Blog. Take a few moments and pay some of the other ladies a visit. The will appreciate the blog love!