Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My New Favorite Way to Eat

Since I am the only one here most of the time, I am finding that I love to fix my meals in Bowls. There are so many recipes out there to try. Here is one I found at my local grocery-store website. I love it.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl
With Apple & Chili Chutney


1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 TBsp. avacado oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp butter 
1 medium gala apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small red jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped
(I used a green one)
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed (I used the entire can)
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 cup cubed or shredded rotisserie chicken (I used Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips cooked in microwave)


Preheat oven to 400* Toss sweet potato with avocado oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside.

While Sweet potato is cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped apple and onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add water, vinegar, jalepeno, and honey. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Reserve

Place roasted potato in a large bowl with black beans, basmati rice, and chicken. Top with Chutney.

This was so, so good!! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Listen to My Story

Today I am going to play a little game I like to call "what if". It is going to include me as a young mom (or even as a granny with young grandkids). And today I live in El Salvador. Or Guatemala. Or Honduras. I hope you will stick with me here. I am terrified of what is going on in my country. I live in a country where the murder rate is through the roof. And gang violence is unbelievable. And those gangs need more and more members every single day because they are killing off their own.

My children are scared and they are hungry. We are very, very poor. And there is no hope in my country. I have seen my friend's children die at the hands of these scary gangs. There is much talk of going to the United States. The United States will take us and take care of our kids. We will be able to find jobs picking fruits and vegetables. We will get to see our kids flourish. Like the American kids do. 

But it is a long, long walk. And it is dangerous. A tiny part of this journey that would take 30 minutes by car will take us more than 20 hours to walk.And we are traveling more than 1000 miles.  It will not be easy. There are smugglers. They will try to take my kids so they can use them to get into the United States. There will be hostile residents in Mexico that will beat us, shoot at us, or turn us into authorities. But I must take this chance. I am thinking about the sure death of my kids if I stay in my country. I have to get them to the border of the United States. (Isn't this what any mother would do?)

Along the trail to the United States we will find theft, rape, and murder. We will walk through dense jungles and open fields. There will be dirty water to drink. Maybe we will find some food. We may go days without. In our group we will watch people die from drinking the water. We will see other mother's raped so they can provide food for their children. 

It is hot! Very, very hot. And humid. My children will cry from hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. But we have to keep going. I know that when I get to the border of the United States I will have two choices. I will find the entrance that will listen to the horror stories of what is going on in my country. I will tell them the gang is looking for us because they want to kill my 10 year old son for stealing food from them. We cannot go back. They will help us. They will give us shelter. They will feed my children.

We arrive! And the United States will not let me in. They will not listen to my story. This isn't what I was promised. I have always heard the people of the United States are kind and caring. I have heard about the Statue of Liberty with the words: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."   But now they are telling me I cannot come in. I am desperate.

So I head down another road.I have two choices. I can send my children ahead of me alone. I can try to find them later. I can pray they will be taken care of. Or I can accompany them and pray for the best. I sneak across the border. But I am caught. I will be arrested. They tell me my kids will be taken away from me. They seem delighted in my misery. My kids stay with me while we wait in a line to be processed. I try to prepare them. They cry. I tell them I will find them. I tell them everything will be okay. I tell them they will get to eat. There will be clean water. They will not be gangs looking for them so they can kill them. They cling to me. I keep telling them to be brave. I tell them "this is the United States of America". 
The last thing I hear as I am taken away by the immigration authorities are the cries of my children.....

    "mama, mama, please don't go"

And this is me again:

If you have been watching TV at all this week you have heard these cries. It is heart wrenching. Yes, I want secure borders for my country. Yes, I want to help these families. Can't the two go hand in hand. Why does it have to be zero tolerance. Why are we treating these people, who only want a better life for their family, so horrible. What can we do to help? These kids are being used as political pawns for a border wall. I am ashamed today to be an American. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Currently: A Life List

Outside my window...

Summer is here! It is hot and humid in the great state of Kansas. That means I stay inside more. That means the A/C runs more. That means more money......But I'm thankful for the A/C I have. Today the skies are clear. It is windy...not bad! The current temp is 88* The humidity is 45%.This is what the rest of the month of June will look like. 

What are your thoughts on our President and North Korea? I think it was a VERY expensive photo op for both of them. I wonder how many North Korean people could have been fed this past week just with the funds that both countries spent to have this photo op. Did anything come from it? I guess to borrow some of the famous words of Trump: 'we will see.'


I am not watching as much on TV. I am watching birds. We have the Orioles back at the jelly feeders. I have yet to see a hummingbird. We have lots of robins bouncing around on the ground. And I've seen a few Blue jays. And then there are the squirrels. Those little devils are so fun to watch. Not as many in my backyard as there have been in years past. That is because my neighbors to the north are putting out oodles of corn on the cob for them to eat. They run through my yard on their way North. 


I'm still reading Love Lives Here by Bob Goff for my book club at the end of June. I do a chapter a day. I'm also listening to Killman Creek by Rachel Caine. This is the second book after StillHouse Lake which I reviewed here last week. Loving these books. Good, solid thrillers.


In honor of Flay Day today I finished my mantle decorating. I will leave it up until after July 4th!

What's in the kitchen...

One of the things that is nice about living alone is you get to eat whatever YOU want, whenever you want. And that's what I have been doing. I still try to have a somewhat loose meal plan. But I'm really, really flexible. 

A quote to share...


Taken at 9:30 p.m.
9:32 p.m.
Ivory Taylor
3 weeks

Uh huh

A final thought...

About the ring on the finger above. They started out calling it a 'promise ring'. Whatever that means. And before the day was over it became an engagement ring. I'm hoping she will finish school before she starts worrying about planning a wedding. But she's living the adult life now. 
Who knows??

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Reviews

I've been going through audio books like crazy. And cleaning the garage. And doing some yard work. And some house cleaning. Best time to do audio books is when you are busy and you don't really need to think about what you are doing. I have gotten all four of these books, along with their audio, free from my Kindle Unlimited app from Amazon!

An Invisible Client by Victor Methos is about a high powered personal injury lawyer, Noah Byron. Noah takes on the pharmaceutical business over the wrongful death of a young boy! He gets to know the boy and his mom and really learns to like them. He also meets a young intern lawyer and falls in love. So it's a love story plus a legal thriller. Had good, strong characters. A great, interesting plot. And a satisfying ending. Was an emotional and satisfying read. For me that is *** 3 stars. (you can see my star ratings in my sidebar).

The Lilac Bouquet by Carolyn Brown is a story which involves a town of secrets that go back more than 60 years. Emmy Jo, the main character, is a young nurse who takes a job caring for an old codger whom the town doesn't like. And he doesn't like anyone in the town. But he's very, very rich. She discovers the secrets that helps her uncover her own heritage and has a fantastic ending. This is one of those books that will just make you feel good. We all need those once in awhile, don't you agree? Another 3 *** book.

Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch is
a novel written with the perspectives of the two main characters. Ben Livingston is a writer and Tatum Connelly is an actress. This book was kind of a fluff read. But I enjoyed it. They fall in love and marry. They have a child. And then her career explodes while his doesn't. I can't say I loved the book. It was too long. And too repetitive. But it ended in a 'feel good' kind of way. So 2 1/2 stars is the best I can do.

Last is the book I just finished. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. My kind of book. It is a thriller. I stayed up a lot at night going back and forth from the book to the audio. Couldn't wait to get to the end. Was really,
really ready for justice. The story is about Gwen Proctor (aka Gina Royal) who was married to a horrible serial killer from Wichita, Kansas. She doesn't know he is a serial killer until a car misses a turn in the road and crashes into their garage and exposes his killing place. He is arrested and put on death row. She is arrested and charged as his accomplice. She is acquitted. But he has fans who stalk her as she moves around the country trying to protect her kids. Good book! But to be fair I have to tell you it ends with a cliff hanger. The good news is the next book is already available and I am starting it tonight. This book will get **** stars from me.

Happy summer reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's Disappearing??

It has been awhile since I have participated with Joyce and the gang for a Wednesday Hodgepodge. Today feels right! Here is how it works: Copy the prompts from Joyce's blog From This Side of the Pond, answer on your blog, and put your name on the list. Don't forget to go visit the other lovely people who participate. 

From this Side of the Pond

1.Describe your 30's in one sentence. If you're not yet 30 tell us one thing you hope to accomplish once you hit that particular decade.
It was a crazy, busy, hectic, beautiful decade of my life.

2. Is it harder for you to exercise or eat healthy?

It is much harder for me to exercise. I find eating healthy to be a challenge, at times, but nothing like exercising.

3. June 7th is National VCR Day. Huh? Anyway this reminded me of something I saw on Facebook listing household items we no longer have and the VCR was on it. I couldn't put my hands on that list, but found another list here of 21 items we all had ten years ago, but which are now obsolete-

bookshelves (WHAT!!???), drip coffee makers, alarm clocks, file cabinets, desktop computers, printers, printed phone books, answering machines, fax machines, paper shredders, a Rolodex, CD racks, CD burners, china cabinets, home phones, entertainment consoles, DVD players, calculators, takeout menus, incandescent light bulbs, and cable TV

Your thoughts? How many on the list do you still have? Still use?

I, mostly, live by the philosophy of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". I don't understand why so many things are gotten rid of just because technology is moving on. I still subscribe to cable TV. It's too expensive but it works for me. I still own a DVD player, a printer, a desktop computer, file cabinets, and an alarm clock. I don't use the alarm clock anymore, but I still have it. I still own a drip coffeemaker but use my Keurig almost exclusively. I have several bookshelves and still own a china cabinet.I still own a paper shredder and have been using it quite a bit as I downsize.  So I guess maybe you can say I am stuck in the past.....

4. What's something you see disappearing in the next ten years?

As fast as technology is changing it is really hard to imagine what 10 years from now will look like. I think we will no longer have mail delivered to our homes. And that will be a very sad day!

5. How did you celebrate your birthday this past year? Is that typical? 

This past year on my birthday, I was home all day alone. We celebrated on days that worked for my family. And that is pretty typical for me.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Summer has arrived here in Kansas. It is hot, hot, hot. And humid. And I will take this over winter anytime.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Review-A Piece of Cake

I have read and listened to a few books lately. I'll share my reviews with you!

The first book, A Piece of Cake, by Cupcake Brown is a memoir. This is the true story of the triumph of Cupcake. It starts out when she finds her mother dead in their house at the age of 11. Cupcake has an older brother who is currently living with their "father" because Cupcake's mother could not handle him. What comes to pass is this man is not the biological father of Cupcake and her brother. Even though the step-father would have probably been better for them, the judge awards their custody to their real father. Cupcake and her brother are placed in the foster care system by their biological father (while he supposedly is getting a home ready for them) and the horror of her life begins. She runs away, is sexually and physically abused, and runs away again and again. She becomes a prostitute at a very young age. She becomes addicted to drugs and joins a gang in Los Angeles. The book follows Cupcake through all of this until she finally gets recovery and joins up with a law firm who gives her a chance and she becomes a lawyer.

This book should be a 'feel good read.' But it was horrific to get through. The language was brutal and the continual stories of drugs, sex, and violence we kind of a turn off. I realize she needed to tell her 'real' story but I think it was too much. I would have liked for her to talk more about how all of the bad decisions she made (and the ones that were made for her) led her onto the wrong path. There is also a bit of 'white bashing' which is hard for me to understand. I think what really struck me about this book is her enthusiasm in telling the parts that to me were horrible. She seemed to be proud of them. But through some of my interactions with people like this, I have found they are often 'proud' of their criminal behavior. 

The book was NOT read by Cupcake, herself, but the story is hers. I am glad she was able to better herself. Millions do not get the chances she was given. Over and over and over again. 

I will give the book 3 stars. *** It was a good story even if I do think it could have cut out half the book and still told the same story. I listened to this book for my June bookclub! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

June's First Life List

Outside my window...

Happy June! It is summer here already. Has been for quite a few days. I think we completely skipped spring. It is a bright sunny day and the temperature is already 91* We also have a humidity of 57% I love summer. However my A/C has been running for days and the bills will not be pretty!


It seems I spend a lot of time pondering these days. Less time doing. I am going to try to turn that around today. I have my list and I am getting ready to tackle a few things. I already crossed off the BIG bills. I love that moment my checking account looks so rich and them BOOM it is depleted. 


I have gotten back to watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and I have a list of other shows I want to start on. Some of the ones on my list are: 1)13 Reasons Why #2,2)The West Wing, and 3)Sons of Anarchy. What are your favorites? Do you binge watch?


I have just finished two good books. I will review them soon. I think I also have another audio book to tell you about. I listened to it for Book Club. Currently I am listening to Love Lives Here:Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want. It is our July Book selection. It's non-fiction, which is not my usual genre, so I find listening to these types better. I haven't decided yet what to start reading. What are you reading or listening to?


Time to create the summer mantle. I usually do a flag theme in June which will take me through the 4th of July. And then I finish the summer with just a generic summer theme. Stay turned. I'll post pictures when I'm done! Do you decorate seasonly?


Oh the lessons I am learning! My nest is once again empty. I find it much harder this time. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it is just me left in the nest. And I really don't know what to do with myself at this moment. But, I'll get it figured out. I hope!


Oh the plans I have. 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Dr. Seuss

What's in the kitchen...

It's salad and sandwich season! Horray! I never stop eating salads and sandwiches. But this is the season, isn't it? My cook top is not working (always something) so there is my excuse to not cook. P. S. I will get it fixed soon!

A quote to share...

A final thought...

Our political scene doesn't get better. I am embarrassed, at times, to be American and have to claim this is my President. But I have hope. And hope is what we need. This can't last forever.

Also, today was Darian's last day in the Army. He is on his way to Tennessee to be with his lady and his brand new baby, Ivory Taylor. Praying for him to find a job quickly and have a good start to the next chapter of his life. (Hope to visit him SOON)