While I’m contemplating writing a more difficult blog post… here are 20 things that I need (or at least want) to get finished between now and next Tuesday!
- Finish cleaning out my car. I got to a great start yesterday by vacuuming for the first time in ages… now I just need to pull some things out of the passenger side floorboard that don’t belong and do some touch up on the inside. I love looking back and seeing a CLEAN back seat!
- Sweep and mop the living room floor
- Clean the downstairs bathroom
- Pay bills and balance the checkbook
- Go to the park
- Figure out what to do with the 2 pounds of mushrooms I just bought (about a pound is for cooking this week, the rest because it was cheaper to buy the 2 pounds than 1!) Wonder if you can freeze mushrooms? Otherwise I see lots of omelets in our future. Or I could make a pizza… (DONE! Making these and switching around our weekly menu– breakfast for dinner tomorrow, pork/stuffed mushrooms/apples on Thursday, leftovers Friday)
- Call insurance company about random doctors charges they won’t pay for due to pre-existing conditions that they shouldn’t count. Not to mention the random charges they won’t pay for for who-knows-what reason. Maybe they just refuse things on principle so they have jobs for their call center?
- Back up my pictures and spa records to external hard drive.
Watch Lost tonight and Lost series finale on Sunday. (I can guarantee this will get done!)
- Figure out what to take to the church potluck that somehow got scheduled on the same night as Lost’s series finale. Yes, I will do both. Somehow. Pray for a cooperative 4-year-old at bedtime.
Spend some time reading a book with a cat reading over my shoulder. Poor kitty gets neglected.
- Clean off the kitchen table… somehow.
- Vacuum the bedroom.
Figure out what to do on Tuesday nights now that Lost isn’t on anymore! 🙂
- Send some orders to Kinko’s… and try to figure out why my printer won’t print.
- Organize the toy/craft/game/random kid stuff cabinet in the living room.
- Get together a load of things to take to Goodwill or something similar while I’m cleaning
Exercise — talk a walk outside in TODAY’s beautiful weather
- Exercise again — do a Walk Away the Pounds video at least once
- Come up with a more interesting 20 Things… list for next week.
Guess I need to get off of the computer and get started! 🙂
So, I had a reader say I should start an organizational blog… and after I stopped laughing (because I’ve never thought of myself as particularly organized)… I realized that I have learned quite a bit about household management over the past 15 years or so… mostly in the cooking/saving money departments rather than the cleaning department. 🙂 I started thinking of items that I try to keep on hand for last minute meals and this is what I came up with! If we are out of most of these ingredients, we desperately need to go to the store! Some of these, I’d usually dress up a little more, but basic is good when the pantry is getting close to empty. I’m assuming most people keep salt and pepper on hand and not including those…
20 Basic ingredients I keep on hand (there are more, these are just 20)
- Dry pasta
- Spaghetti sauce (well, I usually keep canned tomatoes, fresh garlic, dried oregano and dried basil but jarred sauce is easier!)
- Onions (you can dice and freeze if you need too)
- Seasoned Bread Crumbs
- Olive Oil
- Chicken Broth
- Sandwich Bread (can freeze if needed)… also peanut butter for sandwiches, but I don’t use it for any meals below.
- Teriyaki or Soy Sauce
- Cream of Chicken Soup
- Butter or margarine
- Parmesan Cheese (fresh lasts a while, but grated is fine too!)
- Cheddar cheese (shredded or block… block will last longer)
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (bought in bulk and frozen in 1-pound portions)
- Frozen stirfry mix
- Frozen grean beans or corn
- Peppers (buy fresh, slice and freeze)
Meals you can make with these 20 ingredients… just options!
- Spaghetti with Garlic Bread (Cook dry pasta, Add onion/pepper/parm cheese to jarred spaghetti sauce, add butter and parm cheese to sandwich bread and bake)
- Parmesan Chicken (serve over spaghetti or with parmesan roasted potatoes and green beans)
- Chicken Stirfry (chicken, rice, frozen stirfry mix, teriyaki sauce)
- Homemade Chicken nuggets (dip chicken chunks in milk or egg, then roll in bread crumb/parmesan cheese mixture and bake) and oven baked fries
- Pasta with butter and parmesan cheese (and garlic if you have it!)
- Baked Chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans
- Combine chicken and cream of chicken soup in a skillet and serve over rice (similar to this recipe) with green beans
- Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs over rice (chicken, teriyaki sauce, onion, pepper, rice)
- Breakfast for dinner:
- Cheese, red pepper & onion omelet with potato pancakes (add an egg to leftover mashed potatoes and fry)
- French toast (um… I guess without syrup…)
- Eggs and toast or egg & cheese sandwich on toast with breakfast potatoes (diced potato, onion, pepper, oil)
Or add a few more ingredients and you can make these! I found a few of these searching for recipes today so it’s pretty likely you’ll see them again.
- Chicken fajitas (add tortillas and fajita seasoning),
- Campbell’s Chicken and Rice Bake (add paprika and cream of mushroom soup)
- Shredded chicken soft tacos (add Rotel to chicken breasts, cook in crockpot and shred, serve in tortillas with cheese)
- Chicken noodle soup (add carrots and celery)
- Quiche (add pie crust and half&half or cream)
- Easy Skillet Chicken a la King (add pimentos, mushrooms, and onion powder)
- Baked Mozarella Chicken Spaghetti (add mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and yogurt)
- Super Easy Breakfast Casserole (add sausage and evaporated milk)
- Baked Paprika-Parmesan Chicken (add paprika and flour)
- Broccoli-Cheese Baked Potatoes (add fresh broccoli)
Several people have asked me what’s next now that I’ve finished the A to Z challenge. I am still figuring out what I want to do with my blog. I tend to be a person who loves structure but hates being the one who has to develop the structure (hence my unorganized house)… so I can’t say I’ll stick to anything 100%!
I love the Monday Menu Planning I’ve been doing and I’m sure I’ll stick to that on Mondays. I am writing random book reviews as well and will put those on from time to time. Besides that… I’m trying to take life as it comes and write about it as I can. One thing on my to-do list is to start to tackle that stack of books I’ve been wanting to read (and review). I am also participating in an online bible study and may write on that from time to time.
Here’s my list of books to read and/or review… some will be quick and some will take a while to get through.
- Silent Grief by Clara Hinton — I am feeling very privileged to have the opportunity to review this book. I am re-reading the book before writing a review and hoping to have it completed in the next few weeks.
- Searching for God Knows What by Don Miller — Reviewing this one for BookSneeze. I’ve read it before… but in a rush, and I’m looking forward to being able to browse through it again!
- The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian — Going through this one in the online bible study. I’m not sure what will turn up from it in my blog.
- Simply Praying: 52 Weeks with God by Patsy Lewis — I bought this a while back with great intentions of reading it. I didn’t make it through the first chapter. I’m starting over again…
- Scream Free Parenting by Hal Runkel — mentioned this book in another post and a promise to finish and review it. Here I’m promising again!
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling — finishing up re-reading the HP series (and, no, I won’t be reviewing it)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling — same as above!
- Mind in the Making: the Seven Essential Life Skills that Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky — teaching kids life skills, executive thinking, etc. Reading as a parent and a counselor… I don’t own this one yet but it is on my wish list.
- Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life Into Story by Barbara Abercrombie — found this browsing for books… it is on a wish list to buy and read soon!
- One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft by Susan Tiberghien — another I found browsing for books… guess if I am going to start writing more I need someone to give me some structure to do it!
- Reedeming Love by Francine Rivers — rereading one of my favorites for the first time… probably not reviewing unless I decide I want to practice reviewing fiction
- The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers — A book review convinced me I need to read this one. It may be a while, but I’ll get it read!
- The Rock that is Higher: Story as Truth by Madeleine L’Engle — A book that talks about story, written by one of my favorite authors? What’s not to love? I’ve been meaning to find and read this one for a while…
- – 20. The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set — rereading through a parent’s eyes… trying to decide when a good time is to introduce my little boy to these stories! Easier reading in the midst of wading through some nonfiction that will take a little more thinking.
Besides that I’m trying to get a routine going for getting organized around here (the house *and* the blog). If the past is any indication, having lots of good books on hand that I don’t let myself read until I finish whatever task I set for myself for the day will be good motivation!
I may get around to a second K post for today if I ever finish a book I need to review… but for now, enjoy some tidbits about the fur babies in my house! I have 2 cats at home, Oliver (the white Siamese mix) and Bailey (the black long-hair). We still claim Abby too. She was a tan/gray striped cat who lived with us for about 8 years and unfortunately ran away about a year ago. My fault. 😦 She got outside during a thunderstorm and never came back.
- Oliver was my first baby. 🙂 We got him just a few months after we got married. At the time, my husband worked nights and Oliver’s “job” was to keep me company at night. He is the sweetest cat ever and definitely does an amazing job. He’s a really good listener too. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
- When Oliver was a kitten, he loved to watch ski jumping at the Winter Olympics (in 1998, I guess?). He would follow the skier as they jumped and stop watching TV during the commercials.
- We never intended on having more than one cat. Quick story of how Bailey joined our home — we had a car accident, the salvage shop had found some kittens who were days old and had been abandoned by their mom, I’m a sucker for kittens. We took him home and bottle fed him. He even went to work with me for a few weeks!
- To thank me for keeping him alive, Bailey promptly decided that my husband was his favorite human. I’m still second best.
- When Bailey first came to live with us, he was so tiny we couldn’t tell if he was a boy or a girl. We guessed boy and named him Coal. Then the vet told us he was a girl and we named him Annabelle (Belle for short). Well… he turned out to be a boy… so his name is Bailey. We still have a tiny stocking from his first Christmas with us that says Annabelle.
- We definitely didn’t intend on having THREE cats. So how did Abby join our home? Well… my boss found a kitten living on the streets. Her 4-year-old nephew was living with her at the time and terrorizing the poor kitty. She told us we had to stop by “just to see her, we didn’t have to take her”. Did I mention I’m a sucker for kittens? We left with our third cat.
- Abby never grew much beyond kitten size, so we said we really had 2 1/2 cats.
- Abby was more mischievous than the other 2 combined. We loved her and definitely miss her… but have to admit that life is a bit easier without her around!
- Oliver likes to sleep on my head. I’m allergic to cats, this does not help.
- Oliver likes to sit on my shoulder and “read” with me.
- Bailey’s favorite past time is knocking random items off of the table and other surfuaces. We joke that his job is to clean up. (He also took it upon himself to get annoyed with Abby, who did not really like the litter box, whenever she left a mess — and then bring it to our attention).
- Bailey thinks he doesn’t like catnip. We don’t give it to our cats anymore but used to. If we showed him the bag, he would hiss at it and smack it away. If we just gave him catnip in something, he asks like it is the greatest thing ever.
- When Bailey first came to live with us, we kept him in the bathroom because it was the only room with a door that would shut all of the way. He was so tiny we could just let him play in a laundry basket. He still loves bathrooms and water to this day. He likes to sit on the side of the bathtub and scare me while I am taking a shower.
- Cats are an amazing source of entertainment when you are young and have no money. 🙂 We used to laugh for hours watching Bailey chase a laser beam around the floor and on the walls. He could jump really high! Think Mario’s wall jump on Super Mario Brothers.
- Oliver has always had a collar with a bell. He loves it. We tried to put a collar on Bailey one day. He was traumatized.
- Bailey has a bit of an attitude problem.
- Oliver has transferred his love for me into a love for Andrew (my 4 year old) too. They are best buddies and Andrew is (mostly) so gentle with Oliver. Oliver is very patient on the times he is not gentle.
- Andrew and I agree that Oliver makes a great pillow.
- Oliver refuses to eat any kind of “people food”. Bailey has an obsession with chicken. He will beg for it and usually manages to get a bite or two. Abby had an obsession with any kind of people food she could get.
- I cannot imagine life without my cats (though I can imagine a house with less cat hair). They are getting older… Oliver is almost 13 and Bailey is almost 10. I’m trying not to think about it.
cat – 1 walking ego with an attitude problem (Bailey) 2 lap warmer with built-in buzzer (Oliver) 3 proof that eating and sleeping isn’t all bad (Abby)
Encourage (v): to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope
Yesterday, the four year old and I went to the park. Lately, Andrew would rather spend time at the park drawing letters in the dirt or making up stories than running around and climbing on playground equipment. He is definitely more of a thinker than a born athlete (which is perfectly fine by me… athletics is not at all one of my strong points!) Still… remembering my days as the non-athletic one in school and thinking that is probably even harder for the boys… I try to help him to develop his confidence in those areas. Yesterday we tried a few ladders that led up to the reward of sliding down some pretty cool slides. Andrew’s initial reaction was, “I can’t do this! I don’t want to do this!”. I reminded him that he had conquered those ladders last fall and that I was right by his side. He still needed encouragement every step of the way… but after that first time his confidence was restored and he was ready to go do it again! One of my greatest joys as a parent is watching the elated look of “I did it!” on his face.
I started thinking of times I was encouraged in my life. The ones that most easily come to mind are from adulthood — someone telling me I was a strong person at a time I felt incredibly weak, a friend listening over lunch, support to pursue dreams, a hug on an incredibly bad day. Here is a list of some ways to encourage others… some are from my life, some are not. Some relate to giving comfort and courage to go on through tough times, and some are everyday ways to lift others’ spirits. My challenge to you is to work on encouraging others in your life. They will remember. Both you and the ones you encourage will be strengthened.
- Give a hug… even a virtual one (note: be careful with this one… I’ve been the recipient of a few unwanted hugs in my life, especially from the opposite sex!)
- Send a card just to say “I’m thinking of you”. Hand write a note inside.
- Take action to meet a need — take a meal, give a restaurant gift card, babysit the kids, come help clean house.
- Put notes in your kids lunchbox… and your spouse’s.
- Go around the dinner table as a family and say what you appreciated about each other that day.
- Be specific when telling someone what you appreciate or admire about them or their message.
- Keep checking in to see how things are going during extended tough times. Our society encourages people to be self-sufficient and not ask for help all of the time. That doesn’t mean we don’t need it.
- Remind others of their past victories.
- Share your story when appropriate. Don’t compare… but sometimes it helps to know you aren’t alone.
- Pass along quotes/Scriptures that are applicable.
- Recognize small changes in attitude and actions. Applaud positive steps… no matter how small.
- Listen. Keep listening. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.
- Spend time with the person you want to encourage. Your presence often says more than your words.
- Words to say: “You can do it! I believe in you!”
- When you ask, “How are you doing?”, listen.
- If someone confides in you… follow up later and ask how things are going.
- Say, “I love you.” (and then share why!)
The last 2 are from Andrew. I asked him today if there was a way I helped him when he was a little scared climbing the ladder. He said:
- Stand right next to me (good advice… it helps knowing someone is right there beside you!)
- Telling me which step to get on (more good advice… sometimes we are afraid because we don’t know the way to go or the first step to take to get there. Encouragers help us remember we don’t need to know all of the steps before starting our journey… we just need to have someone who has been there before and can lead us each step of the way).
Here are some more encouraging posts from todays A to Z challenge participants:
Families are Forever
GA Flygirls FLY Journal (wow, do I need this blog!)
And, of course, Lee at Tossing It Out (his blog for today is encouragement in disguise)
Who encourages you? What are some things others have done or said to give you courage in facing a new or frightening situation, or to give you hope in discouraging times?
Speaking of encouragement… stop by my friend’s blog at Learning Contentment and encourage her as she is getting started with this A to Z challenge! 🙂
Okay, I can’t say I’ll keep up with this as a weekly feature… but it’s worth a shot! Today’s list —
Twenty Things I LOVE About Springtime
- Daylight at 7 pm
- Being able to go outside without a coat on…. and without being drenched in sweat the second I walk outside.
- Being able to let Andrew play in the back yard.
- Grilling out!
- Seeing the trees get a little bit prettier every day
- Easter and Holy Week
- Easter dresses on little girls
- Breaking out the sandals!
- Taking walks outside after supper
- Trips to the park
- … and trips to the zoo…
- … and discovering NEW parks
- Watching flowers start to bloom
- Getting the first dandelions “saved” (from dh mowing them) by Andrew and brought to me
- Driving around with the windows down and the radio up
- Cadbury chocolate eggs
- Easter egg hunts
- Decorating Easter eggs… and then eating egg salad and deviled eggs.
- Seeing the cherry trees bloom… I have to get down there this week and get a picture! The one in this post is from last year.
What do you love about spring?