Wednesday, August 31, 2016

End of August Hodgepodge

Head over to From This Side of the Pond and grab the questions, answer them on your blog, and link up with a fine group of people doing the Wednesday Hodgepodge:

1.  Are there any men or women in blue on your family tree?


I am very proud to say that my family tree includes a Deputy Sheriff.  My youngest son!! He has been working in law enforcement since 2000. He loves what he does. And I am proud of him. And I will stand behind our men and women in blue always!!! You can click on this link to read a newspaper article about him and some of his fellow officers. We have so many good police officers in this country that it really pisses me off to see the media focus on the few bad apples out there. 

2. Are you someone who suffers from the Sunday night blues? What helps you get over it?

I do not suffer from the Sunday night blues anymore. What I did to get over it was retire. When you don't have to get up and go to work on Monday there really isn't a reason to feel blue. Every day, now, is like Saturday and Sunday.

3. I read the color blue is an appetite suppressant since there are very few naturally blue foods out there. How do you feel about blue cheese? Love it or blech? If you're a fan, what's something you like that's made with blue cheese?

I love blue cheese. One of our favorite restaurants, in the whole world, The Belvedere, in Canon City, Colorado always served a bowl of blue cheese crumbles with their house salad. We loved it. Sadly, it closed its doors on New Years Eve 2013. Richard and I celebrated many occasions in that restaurant. We took our kids and our grandkids there on vacations. You can click on the name and read the article about the closing. 

4. We can't head in to the Labor Day weekend without a related question, can we? Complete this thought: I work best when_I am given plenty of time to think things through and do them the way I want to do them. 

5. 'Everything yields to diligence.' Antiphanes Your thoughts? (on this particular quote or on diligence in general)

I think if you are diligent about anything it will give in to you. The trick is being diligent!

6. The National Park Service turned 100 years old on August 25th. Have you been to many of America's National Parks? If so share with us a favorite or two. Which National Park would you most like to visit before the next birthday rolls around? 

We have visited Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. We went to Yellowstone in the summer with our boys when they were small. It was fascinating to see. My favorite was Old Faithful and all the bison wandering everywhere. We visited Glacier National Park in the winter of 2004. We drove through the park and planned a return visit for pictures on the very day that I broke my leg and ended up in the hospital in Kalispell, Montana. I have no plans to visit any additional National Parks. 

7.  Bid farewell to August in seven words or less.

So long August, see you next year!!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Harley and I love to watch Dancing With the Stars. They announced the returning dancers and the celebrities for this coming season. I am furious that they chose to have Ryan Lochte as one of the celebrities. I do not know what they are thinking. I am trying to decide now if we will watch. Or if only one family not watching will make a difference. Maybe he will be the first one voted out. When will our country learn that you don't reward these bad athletes with more attention??

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Great Gatsby-A Book Review

Overview From Barnes and Noble

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

I know that I read this book in college. I remember talking about it over and over and over. I remember discussing all the symbolism, all the compare and contrast, and the other types of things that English professors like to put you through. BUT, I don't remember the story. AT ALL!! Maybe I didn't read it. Maybe I just pretended to read it. Hell I don't know. But I do know that I haven't read this book before.

Why this book is part of the 'great classics' of our lifetime is beyond me. I liked the story. I didn't find it to be one of those stories I will forever remember. It just didn't make it for me. 

It is a tragic story of love and wealth. And the Jazz age. Partying and doing nothing much else. 

Our book club will discuss this book later in September. I an anxious to see what others think. I know it is "My favorite book" for one of the ladies. 

What do you guys think? Have your read the book?

I'm giving it 3 stars. *** 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bounding Into September Life List


Today, in Kansas, the sun is shining. It is 84 degrees. No wind. A beautiful day for sure.


I am pondering if I am ever going to get rid of this cough. Two nights ago it kept me awake all night. Yesterday I started taking saline aerosol treatments to see if I can break up the mucus and stop coughing!!! Truly think it is allergies. Was better and then I mowed the grass and stirred up the dust!


I'm learning that things feel a bit different with only one kiddo in school. I am going to start a chore list for Darian. He works, on the average, three days a week. We should be able to knock out this list before he leaves. That is, if I can get to feeling better. But the biggest thing I am learning is if I don't want to do something, I don't have to do it. There is always tomorrow!


I haven't created much recently!


I finished The Great Gatsby yesterday and started reading a mystery based on a girl trying to become an Olympian gymnast, You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott. I am loving it, so far. I will post my review of The Great Gatsby sometime later this week. 


To all of my Big Brothers fans out there. How are you liking this week's HOH. I am so disappointed in how Nicole is NOT running her own game this week. VOTE PAUL OUT OF THE HOUSE! Also, watched the final episode last night of Return to Amish.


Harley's new glasses

a rare picture of Darian

Completed Bierocks

Hawthorne trimmings

rising bierocks

WHAT I'M enjoying right now....

It has been so long since I have enjoyed a box of Cracker Jack. Do you remember Cracker Jack from your youth?? These were super delicious. But the prize inside was a joke. I remember the days of good Cracker Jack prizes. This box had a sticker!! Oh well we know the "good old days" are gone. 


Monday... Beef and noodles

Tuesday...Million Dollar Casserole

Wednesday..Chicken salad on apple slices, Soup

Thursday...Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas

Friday...Shepherd's Pie Loaded Potatoes

Saturday...Corn Chip Salad

Sunday...White Bean & Chicken Chili



Happenings in my backyard...

Standing in the dining room this morning, looking into the backyard, I spotted a big, yellow cat quietly sitting in the bushes. Not moving even an eyelid. Just sitting and watching. I did not see anything else in yard. I couldn't tell what she was watching. But she sat there for the longest time. Never moved! Just watched. And suddenly, she was gone. I didn't see her move. She was just gone! Strange. 

A peek into my week...

  Monday...Harley went out of town for a FCCLA conference yesterday and will return home today. Darian is working from 10-7p.
  Tuesday...Darian works 10-7p
  Wednesday...Harley has youth group at church Darian is working out with Army guys
  Thursday...Darian works out with Marine guys
  Friday...Darian is working 11-4p.
  Saturday...We are going on a picnic!!
  Sunday...Darian is working 10-7p.

A final thought...

Then end of one season always makes me think about 'starting fresh' again. Cleaning, organizing, hauling off the old and making more room in my life. That is how I feel about spring. And that is how I feel about fall. So let's get started.....

Friday, August 26, 2016

Tablecloths and Plastic Hanger Brilliant Ideas

Rain, rain, rain! We are predicted to get nothing but rain for the next four days. I am glad Darian and I mowed the lawn yesterday. And today is the FIRST day they have both been gone. Harley is at school and Darian at work. YAY!! Wonderful peace in the house!

I have two amazing life hacks to share with you today. I have been saving them for a bit so it is time to just throw them out there. 

Do you own any of those wonderful folding tables?? Like these:

We have a few of them stacked up in the garage. We use them when we have large family gatherings (not many of those anymore) and three of them will seat all of my family comfortably. But finding table cloths to use on them was always a pain. I hate paper table cloths! What about you?? Then I found this amazing hack. Amazing, right? Especially if you are using the tables outside. Perfect fit!

Next hack is for something we usually throw away when we get home from the store. Those annoying hangers with the plastic clips. Have you ever even thought of recycling them? I know I haven't. Not until I saw this hack anyway. I use clothes pins or clips I have purchased especially for this purpose. But now I know what to do with those hangers!! Until next time.....have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The End of Summer Hodgepodge

Sometimes we just need a little hodgepodge in our lives. Today is one of those days. On Wednesday, Joyce at From This Side of the Pond will pose a series of prompts on her blog. We paste them into our blog and then link with her and the other amazing people who post theirs, as well. Come on and join us. I know you want to!

1. It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over')

I would rather think of waffles to eat! Wouldn't you. I am not really a big lover of waffles but once in awhile, with hot maple syrup, it is good. Now on to the question. I seem to waffle over all decisions anymore. Maybe that is part of the adjustment to being a widow. Richard used to help with decisions. And I don't like making the major ones alone. Get it??

2. It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you? I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included-

make s'mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close? 

I don't like the rushing of seasons either. It is a RETAIL THING. I was in Hobby Lobby and they are rushing Christmas. They even had a Christmas tree decorated with fall decor. I don't even begin to think of fall until September. But then that is like next week!! Our Kansas State Fair starts here on September 9th. I don't know if I will go this year. But there is a possibility. The kids & I still want to get in a "summer picnic". Will have to be on the weekend now that Harley has started back to school. And when the air turns "crisp" we will light a fire in the pit out back and make some s'mores. That will probably be about it for this house!!

3. Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?

My favorite summer art is found in the sky. I love the clouds. Especially storm clouds. As long as there isn't a tornado brewing in one of them. And sunsets. Who doesn't love a good sunset. Kansas has some amazing sunsets. Probably sunrises, too, but I don't get up that early. 

Clouds near the grain elevator

Sun setting behind the "Lucky Tree"

Storm clouds from last week
With the sun setting

4. Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying 'We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.' Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else?

I think I am a far harsher judge of myself. I usually judge, not by my intentions, but by my actions. I have lots of "good intentions" but many never come to fruition.So that makes my judgment of myself much harder.It is very true that we are quick to judge others. Whether by their actions, words, or something else. We are a very judgment society. Don't you think?

5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate.

I handle crisis very well. Unless it involves a loved one. I am an RN and I have had to handle many crisis in my career. When something bad happened I just let my training take over. I always knew what to do. But if that crisis involves one of my loved ones it is very hard to step back and look at it with a trained eye. Hard to make those life and death decisions.

6. What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?

Our go-to meal in the summer months is sandwiches. BLT's! Ham and cheese with sliced tomatoes and lettuce. Hamburgers on the grill. Anything between two slices of bread. Yes, we will continue to eat them even when the temperatures turn cold. Just add a hot cup of soup!

7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?

I am very much into adult coloring. I have a couple of coloring books. And I like to print pictures off the Internet. I especially like coloring 'tangles'. There are some awesome ones out there.

A recent coloring page.
I did this one with gel pens.
Usually used colored pencils

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

First Day of her Junior year in High School

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Life List-August 22nd Edition


Oh my goodness our weather took a change. On Saturday it almost felt like fall. I turned off the A/C and threw open the windows. It was only 73 degrees outside. This morning when I drove the girls to church it was 51 degrees.


I am pondering the beginning of another school year. Paige and Harley will both be juniors this year. Paige is also taking a couple of college classes at her local junior college. She has a pretty heavy coarse load. Well, so does Harley. They will be busy this year. 


Learning is a constant! We should never stop learning! I remember when I was training new nurses at the hospital and a young nurse would ask: When will I ever know everything I need to know? I always told them: You will never know everything you need to know. You will continue to learn something new everyday. When you stop learning then it is time to stop being a nurse. There is always something new to learn!


I've been working on making my planner work better for me. I am keeping track of my To Do lists, the kid's schedules, my meal plan, what shows I am watching, and how many pages I read everyday. So I'm changing up my planner to reflect this!! 


I am reading The Great Gatsby by. F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this book in college and we studied it "ad nauseam". But, I don't remember the story! LOL! It is our September book selection so I am going to read it again. Not too long so it should be a quick read!! 


Big Brother is making me crazy. Anyone else?? I am thinking my newest "favorite to hate" is Paul. Also, still watching American Gothic. And watching for the return of my favorite shows this fall. 


The TV show Brain Dead is on in the background. I haven't watched it this summer. It is just what is on. In fact no one is watching TV right now. Wonder why I just don't turn it off. 


Back to school paint party at church

Awesome clouds
Why do they like to paint themselves

Getting new glasses...This is what she picked

My little nurse nick/nack

A trip to Rita's
Peach Mango gelati

First Day of school for Paige
Cute little romper
I don't get the boots???


I am enjoying Iced coffee this week!!


Monday...Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

Tuesday...BOGO@Braum's for Harley & I!

Wednesday..BLT's for Darian & I Harley will eat at church

Thursday...Beef Stroganoff

Friday...Easy Mexican Casserole

Saturday...Bierocks (my mom's recipe)

Sunday...Chicken Florentine (Myra's recipe)



Happenings in my backyard... Not much going on in the backyard.

A peek into my week...

  Monday...Harley FCCLA @ school 8 a.m.

  Tuesday...First Day of School Darian works 10-6 p.m. We are going to eat at Braum's for BOGO Day. California burgers!!

  Wednesday...Today is National Waffle Day! Harley will start again eating with the Youth group at Church

  Thursday...National Banana Split Day!! Darian will be with the Marines. (I think)

  Friday...Darian works again 10-6 p.m.

  Saturday...No plans for the moment

  Sunday...Harley is going to Manhattan (The Little Apple) Kansas for a FCCLA convention that is happening tomorrow!!

A final thought...

The Olympics in Rio were amazing! Unfortunately the behaivor of the U.S. swim team has left a sour taste in my mouth and probably the mouths of many, especially the people of Rio. What a spoiled and entitled acting group of grown-ass men.

From the L.A. Times:

“It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country — with a language barrier — and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave,” Lochte said in his statement, “but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors and the hosts of this great event.”
Though an International Olympic Committee spokesman called the apology “entirely appropriate,” a crisis management expert in the U.S. questioned whether its tone would sway public sentiment.

“He apologizes but never says what he’s apologizing for,” said Glenn Selig, founder of The Publicity Agency in Tampa, Fla. “You wonder, is he really sorry? He sort of portrays himself as a victim.”

I don't hear an apology here, do you? Did he ever say: "We were wrong for vandalizing the gas station bathroom which in turn caused an armed security guard to make them pay for the damages they created? No, he didn't. Instead he tried to skirt the issue by talking about how traumatic it was for him to "get caught." Did he ever say he should never have lied to the authorities about being robbed at gunpoint? No, he did not. Instead he only says he didn't handle himself very well. No kidding. You disgraced yourself Lochte. And you did it while representing our country! Exactly why so many people have a problem with Americans as tourists. I am ashamed of you and your friends. I hope you are dealt a blow with your sponsors. I think you should be stripped of your medals. It is time for America to make a statement for these spoiled athletes. Rant over!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Boy in the Suitcase-A Book Review


Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can’t say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.
Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

I listened to this book on my Amazon Kindle app which is on my phone. I bought the book for $1.99 and got the audible version for another $2.99. This is very affordable for an audio book. I do not have a Audible subscription because I don't listen to books all that much. (Although I have been lately). The book is narrated by Kathryn Kellgren. She does an excellent accent and I would never have been able to pronounce many of the Danish names throughout the book.

It took me awhile to tie the characters together. The story never drug, for me, but I often had to go to the book itself to try to figure out where the story was going. Once I hit the half-way point the story started to come together. It was a good mystery/thriller. For those of you who might be squeamish to this type of story, the boy in the suitcase is ALIVE!!

I will give this book a solid 3 stars. ***

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to school Questions

It is 'back to school' time for many of us! I know that not everyone has kids going back to school. But we all remember getting ready to go back to school. Don't we?? My question this week is for you!

Who was your most memorable school teacher?
Share with us. Let us know why you still remember this teacher. I can't wait to read your responses.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Night Circus-A Book Review

Overview From Barnes & Noble

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

I read this book as part of the book club I am part of at Paper & Glam. It probably wouldn't have found it's way to my Nook otherwise. But, I enjoyed it. Was a good story.

The story is a well-told, gentle, love story. Love is really not the center of the story. The backdrop is a magical circus that is only open at night. It appears and disappears as if by magic. Marco and Celia are pitted against one another in a game that can only be won by one of them dying. The magic of this book is in the descriptions of the different areas of the circus. How I would love to visit such a circus. I give the book a solid 3 stars***. It is a good book!

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Life List-August 15th Edition


If you had been looking out my front window a bit ago you would have seen me mowing the grass, riding on my Craftsman riding mower. And you would have seen Harley either pushing a mower or using the battery-operated weed eater. Not too bad of a day here in Kansas. 82* with humidity at 45%. I hardly broke a sweat on that tractor!! LOL


Talked to my brother from Louisiana a bit ago. They had 24 inches of rain in 36 hours down his way. He hasn't floated away yet but the flooding is bad! Welcome to Louisiana big bro!!


I am learning to just let the kid make up his own mind about what he wants to do with his future. It's his life. You wouldn't think after raising two sons of my own I would still need to learn this lesson. Guess it's part of that 'control issue' they say I have. Anyway......


I am going to create some chicken dishes this week. Why? Because I just went out to the freezer in the garage and found that the freezer has stopped working and the chicken (two packages of breasts and thighs) had almost completely thawed. So I threw them in the Crockpot to cook. And I'll fancy some dishes made from them. The plug was pulled out a bit from the wall. I plugged it back in and turned the fridge controls up. We'll see what happens! Wish me luck. And say a few prayers. 


I have put myself on a reading schedule. I should finish The Night Circus on Thursday. Our book club meets on You-Tube Thursday night. And I am about half way with listening to The Boy in the Suitcase.


Besides watching Big Brother we are also watching the Rio Olympics. Big Brother is so good right now. Finally the house has wised up and maybe will vote out Paulie!!


Listening to the Australia/Hungary Shootout Water Polo on TV.


Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Mantle in progress

Wreath I made this week

Harley folding clothes

Cut sunflowers for the table

Mantle complete


Currently drinking a bottle of lukewarm water. Wasn't getting cold outside in that un-plugged refrigerator. 



Tuesday...Crockpot Chicken & Veggies

Wednesday..Darian & I will grab and go

Thursday...Baked chicken and asparagus

Friday...Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad

Saturday...Chicken Cordon Blue

Sunday...Green Bean Soup



Happenings in my backyard...

Everything in the back is green and growing. We have had plenty of rain this summer. I need to weed the Gerber Daisy bed. And make a trip to the feed store for birdseed and corn for the squirrels. 

A peek into my week...

What's going on in your neck of the woods this week? 

Monday...Mow the grass Darian works 10-7
Tuesday...Go to the bank
Wednesday...Back to School Paint Party@Church
Thursday...Marine Pooles in Wichita
Friday...Darian works 10-7 Harley to optometrist in the morning plans at the moment
Sunday....Darian works 7-10

A final thought...

Harley starts school a week from tomorrow. The summer flew by. We need to make plans to get in a picnic before the weather turns cold.