Sunday, March 26, 2017

In a Dark, Dark Wood-A Book Review

Now this is my kind of book! Maybe I should stop reading these books for the book club and just read what I know I like. Except this month we are reading a book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman. Now that is pushing me out of my comfort zone to read a genre that I normally would not read. And so far I can only say "eh"! But I like poetry. I'm just not sure I like this kind of poetry. Know what I mean? 

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Sometimes the only thing to fear…is yourself.
When reclusive writer Leonora is invited to the English countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. But as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters Leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the party is not alone in the woods.

This was a good mystery book! But I figured out the mystery before I got all the way to the end. I just didn't quite have the right person being responsible for the.....Oops, I almost told you what happens. I got this recommendation from my friend Kwizgiver at What if This is as Good as It Gets? She rarely leads me astray! If you like a mystery and some quick, light reading then this is the book for you!!

Harley and I are leaving on a road trip in the morning. Talk to you all when we get back!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Favorite Things for March

Don't we all seem to have 'favorite things'? It's not just Oprah, is it? I have so many favorite things that I can't wait to share them with you. When I can I will share links to where they can be purchased!!

I started Memory Planning in February! I am using The Big Happy Planner to do my memory keeping. The link will take you to the one that I was so very, very lucky to find marked down to $12.00 at Hobby Lobby. These are a couple of the spreads I have completed:

I am almost done with January. I have completed the spread below for when Darian left in February. 

I will finish up March and then I hope to stay on top of it each week as time goes along. I have always wanted to scrap book. This seems much easier than in years past.

The Big Happy Planner is 8.5 by 11 inches so it is the perfect size to memory plan in! Do you scrapbook or memory plan? I follow some You-Tuber's so I get some good tips from them. 

Next, is my Sprocket. Harley got this for me for my birthday (which is in April), but I think she wanted to borrow it. It is so neat. It prints 2 inch by 3 inch pictures which have sticky backs so they are perfect for the Happy Planner. In the upper spread, the pictures on the left are printed on the Sprocket. They print from your phone!! Which is the only camera I use. But the paper is $9.99 for 20 sheets so I just simply cannot afford to print ALL my pictures from it!!

Keeping with this line of favorites I have also discovered Walgreen's for printing pictures really, really affordable. (I wanted to say cheap) I have the Walgreen's app on my phone so I upload the pictures into a collage of 4 and order a 4 inch  by 6 inch print for $.39 and wah lah I have four little pictures I can cut apart for the memory planner. You can see some of those in the bottom spread above. And you can pick them up the same day you order them!!!! That is a win-win! Or you can order any size you want. They even have canvases which I want to order when Darian comes home and I get pictures of him in his uniform.

A huge favorite for March has been letters from my SIT (soldier in training)! We have only gotten two so far but they are cherished treasures at the moment. And I bet they'll find their way into the memory planner! He is doing well. He is liking basic training! And for all of that I am a happy granny!

I was taken out to dinner on a couple of occasions in March. I am not the 'eat out kind of girl' so this was a big deal. I usually like to order and eat at home. But Harley took me to Rib Crib one evening and another time I went to Applebee's with Justin. You can see our food in these pictures:

Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

Lime Chicken

TWO orders of Cheese fries at Rib Crib

I also stumbled upon a new drink in the month of March. Clicklist gave me a coupon to try some free drinks. Two of the drinks went to Harley. They were artificially sweetened and I dislike artificial sweeteners of any kind. But this drink is pretty good. It is Coconut water. The fluid that is inside a coconut that is not yet ripe. Has a bit of a nut taste. Only 45 calories for 8 ounces and is loaded with nutrients, most especially, potassium which I need to prevent leg cramps!! So another win-win!

Also, I loved my Birkenstock sandles from back in the day! They lasted me for more than 10 years and are now pretty worn out. I can't afford to buy the real thing anymore but I found these at Target for less than $30 and I am loving them! Fit is good and they are comfortable. Harley has a pair too!!

Last, but not least, we are going to be changing up the mantle for Easter. So I found these beauties at The Dollar Tree. They are currently gracing the dining room table in this tall, glass vase. I don't know whether they will make it to the mantle or stay in the vase for Easter. We will see.....

That's it! All my favorites for the month of March. Now, we will be off on a road trip soon. Hopefully will have some adventures to share. And update of my Big Surprise coming soon. Have a great day friends and family!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Hardest Walk

Whoever said, "the hardest walk is walking alone. But if you let it, it's the walk that can make you the strongest" has probably never really walked alone! My opinion!

I was reading a young friend's blog today and she was talking about how weird grief is. She lost her grandma a couple years ago and the older she gets the more she misses her. I understand this. Grief is weird! And it is maddening. And it is hard!!

Richard has been gone for almost 3 years. Three years this summer. Even saying that makes me sad. To think three years has passed without him and I am not stronger. I'm lonely. And it's not a loneliness that can be filled with getting out and meeting new people. Or doing volunteer work. Or getting a part-time job. (These things have been suggested by those who don't know what kind of loneliness I am trying to talk about)

It's the loneliness of not having someone to talk to about the crazy stuff of life. Not having someone to laugh with about the things that only we understood. The loneliness of looking across the room and seeing the chair where he sat empty. And not wanting to stay too long in the room where he used to sit with his coffee and watch the birds. It's the loneliness of getting in the car to take a trip and knowing he won't be sitting there next to me to give me directions.(although his directions sometimes weren't crystal clear! LOL!) And to tell me how to drive! Or tick me off with his suggestions. That kind of loneliness. You won't know what it is like if you have never had a life mate and lost the life mate.   

I did not think I would still be mourning the love of my life for this long. I would not want him to still be lingering and suffering. But I do wish he was still here. Even if that means I would be caring for him from sun-up until sundown. I would do it all over again. It is just so interesting (and maddening) to find these grief surges over and over again.
Just this week I lost a friend. He died of a massive heart attack. I've known him since he was born. Only 51 years old. In the very prime of his life. I'm saddened to think his wife will now be taking this horrible walk alone now. The one that is supposed to make us stronger. With a houseful of kids and grandkids she gets to walk without her life mate. Not fair. 

When I say that I hear my mom say, "whoever told you life was fair?" Isn't that the truth?? Nothing fair about it. There is no rhyme nor reason for why we go through what we go through. And maybe it makes us stronger. Who knows?

Right now it just pisses me off.  

missing you during March Madness

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Life List-March 20th Edition


Today I see SPRING! The sky is blue and the sun is bright!! Current temperature is 74* This is what I call a nice, spring day. Yesterday our temperatures reached 90* Unheard of for this early in the year! Sure hope this is not an indication of summer to come.


I am still harboring a "big" surprise! It's probably not going to fulfill the hopes of 'many' of you out there in blogging land but it is huge to us here at my house!! I will share with you all as soon as I can!


I am still learning all there is to learn about creating altered books. I cannot wait to get started on this process. But for now I will just keep learning!!


I am reading in a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware. So far I like it. I am also continuing with my other daily reading selections. I stopped listening to the book I was listening to. Just not enough time in the day!!


I am currently watching Press Secretary Sean Spicer hold a briefing follow the FBI director confirming that YES Russia was involved in the 2016 election. Let the deflections begin!!


I am hearing the washer spinning in the other room. I will soon need to transfer clothes to the dryer. That is my goal for today.....laundry!


Always sending granny a snapchat


Got her hair highlighted


Ice cold water is the drink of choice today!


Monday...Hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes

Tuesday...Chili dogs (this girl will never get her fill)

Wednesday..Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Thursday...Ham and cheese sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes (another Harley request)

Friday...Homemade Pizza night

Saturday...Caesar Salad

Sunday...don't know yet if Harley is home!


I'm fighting yet....

Currently, I am fighting for peace in my home!

A peek into my week...

This week I am catching up on some chores here! And getting ready for a road trip soon to Oklahoma to see family. This will be our first trip away since Richard died. I think we are due!!

A final thought...

Isn't it wonderful when spring finally comes? I love having the windows open and a cool breeze blowing through. I do NOT love having the A/C turned on. Is anyone planning to see Beauty and the Beast??

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Nest-A Book Review

Overview from Barnes and Nobel: 
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to re-imagine the futures they've envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

So much of this story reminded me of a family I once knew! It shows how people can pin all of their dreams on a future wind-fall which never materializes. I couldn't like any of these characters in the beginning of the story. But I found they reminded me of a bad car wreck. The one that wasn't good to look at but you just can't tear your eyes away from. You all know what I am talking about. Then once the promised money, "the nest" is gone they become much more likable. I was happy with the ending! I enjoyed the story. I give it a solid 3. Maybe even 3 1/2 ***! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Life List-March 13th


The sun is shining. A slight breeze is blowing. The trees are beginning to bud. BUT......the current temperature is only 32*! Now that is crazy! We have temps of 80 in January and only 32 in the middle of March. And we had snow flurries on Saturday! Spring is coming. I just know it is!!


I am thinking about what the change to Daylight Savings Time does to us. We sprung ahead on Sunday to DLS. We will stay here until November 5 when we switch back to standard time. I know that not all of you do this, but we do it in Kansas. I really like for the sun to stay up in the sky longer in the day. And it wouldn't bother me in the least for that to happen year round. I am not sure what we are saving! Every year there are those who don't like the 'messing with the clocks' but so far nothing has come of it. So, I now wake up at 5, instead of at 6, to make sure Harley is up and getting ready for school. And I am tired all day. It will take awhile for me to get used to this again. And about the time I get used to it we will be 'falling back' in the fall. (And for those who might ask, NO I don't stay up!! I'm retired! I don't need to be up at 6 in the morning!) 


I am learning there is a fair amount of stress that accompanies those of us who were not in the center of our "fire drama" which took place last week. Now, we are hearing about all the loss. And the public is out demanding help to those who lost everything. Everyone wants in on the action of 'helping'. I can't, as of yet, decide where I want our help to go. It's just so awful to even think about! And now I have to sort out which charities are real and which are just trying to scam the public. It is all so stressful to listen to. One of the families who lost their house are members of the church we attend. They lost everything and did not have insurance. I do not understand why someone would not have insurance but they had none. Harley made a donation to them! And we will see where else we can help. Like I said, so stressful! And that has to sound so petty considering what others must be going through. 


I have been working on my Happy Planner Memory Planning. And while I work on these I am thinking about those who lost all of their pictures. Earlier this year, when my computer was affected by a power surge, I lost my external hard drive. On that hard drive were all of my digital pictures from 2008 and onward. I grieved the loss but was able to move on. I have found some pictures of those years. Enough to keep me happy. But I think of those who won't have a single picture of their young! You just don't think what you might lose until you lose it!


I am in a reading slump. Still working my way through The Nest! And book club is coming up soon. I just can't focus for now. I need to create a reading plan and stick to it! Do any of you have reading plans? 


Not watching much new on TV. I stayed up late last night watching re-runs of Naked and Afraid. I just can't tell you why I am so fascinated with that show.


Currently listening to The Chew! Mindlessly, not paying much attention. Harley is out of school for today. She is in the bathroom with the music cranked up pretty loudly. Wait while I yell at here to turn it down.....she can't hear me. The music is too loud. I know, I'll shoot her a text! Hey, that worked!!


I am drinking my second cup of French Vanilla Coffee. I told you this DLS has me so tired!


Monday...We are going to grab some take-out

Tuesday...Chicken and Stuffing

Wednesday..Salad for granny! Harley at church

Thursday...Chili dogs (again!!!)

Friday...Pizza (yes, that again, too)

Saturday...Cheese filled Shells (didn't fix them last weekend)

Sunday...Up in the air. Depends on if Justin comes. Harley will be working


Happenings in my backyard...

Harley made popcorn last night. And she tossed the leftovers into the backyard before she went to bed. We always do that. But, usually the next morning. For the birds. Last night her leftovers were enjoyed by not one, but two, opossums who waddled into the yard and enjoyed the feast. Hope they moved on today!

A peek into my week...

I am not going to tell you what my plans are for the week. It is a big surprise. Or maybe just a dream! We'll see!! Don't you just love a teaser??

A final thought...

I'm hoping, wherever you are, spring is starting to poke it's head out of the ground and we will soon all be basking (and bitching) and the warmer weather! Have a super week friends!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Safe From the Fires

We are hoping the worst is over!! The fires were about 7 miles from our house but the winds were gusting up to 45 miles an hour so the entire city was in danger. The fires were out of control! Brave firefighters from all over the United States have been fighting around the clock to save this area of my town. So far there have been more than 6500 acres burned. The first damages are starting to roll in. Eight houses were completely burned. One of the homes is the principal of Harley's high school! The next to the last picture is what we could see of the bright glow in the night sky from our front yard. And we had the Black Hawk helicopter with their huge water baskets flying over our roof all day the past two days!

Our neighborhood was 1 block south of the evacuation area. We had a family of six (and their two dogs, one the size of a small Shetland pony) stay with us for over 24 hours as their house was about 4 blocks into the evacuation zone. They have returned to their home now. The evacuation zone has now moved a bit further away from both our homes. Thank you Lord!

Laundry basket
As well as several other states and more counties in Kansas these fires have been the story of our lives for several days. I don't think I have ever had to imagine what it would be like to lose everything I have in this manner. This has certainly brought it closer to home. The inside window sills of my home were covered in a fine black soot! And this is what I found yesterday in a laundry basket sitting in the dining room.

At one time on our phones (there were 5 smart phones in the house) an emergency alert sounded with the following message:

It was immediately determined to be accidentally sent to all of Hutchinson and was not meant for the entire city to evacuate. But, let me tell you, this will send your heart into panic mode thinking, "oh dear Lord, help us now!!" 

For now, we are safe and recovering. I am going to revel in the quiet house! Harley and I might take in a little shopping this afternoon. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March Came in Like a Lion List List


It is dark and it is hard to tell if the sky has dark clouds or if it is smoke. Wild fires all around us this weekend. Some are pretty close. The air smells of burning grass. We've had some gusty winds. The temperature is hovering in the lower 60's but feels colder due to the winds from the north!


I'm pondering what it would be like to have minutes to evacuate your home because of fire. What would you grab? Do you have a plan? I would grab my phone, my checkbook, a picture album or two, shoes, coat, Harley and we'd run! Maybe it would be wise to have a bag with stuff in it we would need! Heck, I don't know! 

They did evacuate hundreds of families  to the northwest of me. That is what brought me to pondering this. These families are now back in their homes. 2000 acres were burned but no houses destroyed.


I am going to begin memory planning in a Happy Planner. I got a really good deal at Hobby Lobby on a big planner and I am learning how to order my pictures in little bundles of 4 from Walgreen's very cheaply!

This is how I get them. Each sheet like this is $.39! I cannot print pictures on my printer this cheap. Then I just cut them apart and use a tape runner to put them on the planner pages. I'll share when I get my first spread completed. Also, my darling granddaughter, Harley bought me a Sprocket for my birthday (not until April). If you don't know what a Sprocket is you can click on the word and it will take you to Amazon to read all about it. I think the main reason behind her buying it for me was so she could use it too. LOL! And that is okay! We will choose wisely what pictures to print with the Sprocket because the papers are a little expensive (I think)!


I guess from the 'What I'm learning' you can see what I'm creating. I also am still working on learning all that I can about those altered books. We are going to the Goodwill this week to see what kinds of books I can find to make one for Darian!


With all of my other reading about the things I am crafting I am not getting much of my book read. So I am still reading The Nest!


I've been watching our President make more of an ass of himself on TV! I do not really know what is wrong with this dude. Now he is convinced that President Obama was listening in on his phone calls!!! I think this guy has so much to hide that he is so paranoid!! (Sorry if you are a Trump Supporter) Not sorry, really! But, my blog, my opinion!!


I am currently listening to the sports news on TV. Our Wichita Shockers will be going to the NCAA tournament. Go Shockers!!

A recipe to share...

One Pan Chicken & Orange Chili Noodles


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cups chicken broth
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed I doubled this)
1 large orange, zested and juiced (I didn't have an orange so I left this out)
¼ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup sweet hot chile sauce (I used more of this)
1 large onion, cut in half and then into slices
16 oz. pot-sized spaghetti pasta
2 cups shredded cabbage (we skipped this)
1 cup matchstick carrots
8 oz. sugar snap peas
Chopped green onion, for garnish, optional

  1. In a jumbo cooker, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken begins to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, orange juice concentrate, fresh orange juice and zest, soy sauce, and sweet hot chile sauce. Set aside.
  3. Once the chicken begins to brown, add the onion and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the uncooked spaghetti pasta to the skillet with the chicken and onion. Immediately pour the prepared sauce over the top. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and stir the pasta. Add the cabbage, carrots, and sugar snap peas. Raise heat to medium and continue to cook and stir until the liquid is mostly gone and the pasta is tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Immediately serve with chopped green onion, if desired.
Oh my gosh! This recipe made a lot! I will eat for lunch a couple times this week. And it was very, very good. Justin and I LOVED it. Paige picked out the carrots and peas. It tasted even better the second day. Let me know if you try it! This will become a regular on our meal rotation


Monday...Chili dogs, (special request)

Tuesday...Cheeseburger sliders

Wednesday..Harley will eat at church

Thursday...Mediterranean Couscous

Friday...Chicken Pot Pie

Saturday...Cheese Filled Jumbo Shells



A peek into my week...

I am going to keep working in Darian's room this week. Almost ready to crack open that gallon of paint! Yes, I am! And work on my scrapbook! Might take a drive to Michael's in Wichita. We don't have one here. We do have Hobby Lobby though. And I love them. Too much!

A final thought...

We got our first letter from our soldier this week!!! It was a happy day! He didn't really say much. (I think it was written while he was still in reception). But we now have an address. And he asked granny to send envelopes and stamps. So we sent a small package out on Friday! I hope he gets it soon. He sounds good! It made my heart happy to hear from him. (and his sister and I might have shed a tear or two. But don't tell).

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Presidential Question

It's been awhile since we had a question here. Not that I have no questions!! Oh, no I have plenty of questions! I feel like there isn't any such thing as a 'stupid question' just a question that hasn't been asked. And we learn so much by asking, don't we?
Today...I wonder if you have all heard, on the news, what Oprah has said about running for President of the United States! What do you think? Would you vote for her?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Slowly Crafty Hodgepodge

Hump Day! Hump Day! Can you hear that silly camel saying it? Time to visit Joyce at From This Side of the Pond and play along! Then visit some of the 'podgers' and give them some love!

1. 'Slow and steady wins the race'...tell us about a time this was true in your own life.

When I went back to school in the very early 1980's I had two small sons at home. Danny was 9 and Justin was 5. Justin had not even started school yet. I decided I wanted to go to college and become a nurse. So, slowly, I started to take classes. All the prerequisites first. Then the final two years of the nursing degree classes. Slowly, steadily, I made it to the end and graduated in May, 1983! 

2. 'As slow as molasses'...Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 

I used to tell Richard he moved 'slow as molasses'. My favorite of these slow moving treats is caramel. Or maybe butterscotch. And what could be better than an ice cream sundae topped with whipped cream and a maraschino chery!!! 

3. Your favorite slow song? 
When I first met Richard he was a 'whiz-bang' of a dancer. Me, not so much! But I loved going dancing with him. Over time he taught me to waltz. This is the song we danced to 'over and over and over' until I could waltz pretty well. Richard got to where when he heard this song he kind of winced. I never stopped loving it. Whenever I hear it now I can close my eyes and find myself in his arms once again. (The man could twist as well as Chubby Checkers, too)!

4. Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot?

Best Ever Beef Stroganoff 


2 cans condensed Golden cream of mushroom soup (10 and 3/4 oz. each)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
1/2 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
a dash of Paprika
1 yellow onion, chopped (~ 1 cup)
2 pounds cubed stew meat
8 oz. cream Cheese,
12 oz. bag of Egg Noodles


Put first 5 ingredients into crockpot and cook for 8-10 hours on low
20 minutes before serving. Cook noodles and add cream cheese.

My family loves this!! Even the picky-one (Paige)! 

5. 'You may delay, but time will not.' ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?

I fall into the 'delayer' category. Is that the same as being a procrastinator? I have been meaning to paint Darian's bedroom for close to three years now. I had the room prepped (as in nail holes Spackled and sanded) when Richard died and I haven't gotten back to it. You can imagine how the room looks! (I refuse to take a picture). It has become a family joke now! But I will certainly surprise them someday with a painted bedroom. I don't really like to paint!! It's not so bad, once I get started, it's the getting started part that is hard!!

6. Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.

1)Traffic! Especially down the main street by my house. The speed limit is 45 but people are usually driving 35! Drives me insane! 
2)My granddaughter when she gets off work! She never comes right out. She has to stand around and gab with her friends for a bit. It's not like she just spent 6 hours with them!!! She's the same at church. I spend a lot of time waiting on her.
3)MY INTERNET....not nearly as fast as it used to me. I think they do that on purpose so I will sign up for the more expensive package.

7. March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen.

I have been watching You Tube videos about making 'altered books'. I am fascinated and want to make some of these for myself. Don't know when I'll get around to it. But I will continue to learn and collect the supplies. Here is one of the videos I have watched:

8. Insert your own random thought here.