Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Speaking of skating...when did you last 'skate on thin ice', 'skate over the details', 'encounter a cheapskate', or just plain skate?
I am going to go with "just plain skate"...It is winter so ice skating comes to mind.  I was talking about this on our way home from church recently.  I last ice skated when I was about 14-15 years old.  We have a small pond at my mom's home and my brothers and I used to ice skate when it froze over!  That was many, many years ago but it holds a lot of fond memories.
2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?
I have absolutely no idea what that would be. The problems that I can think of expand to all ages so I just have to leave this one unanswered, sorry...

3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?
Earrings. I have earrings in all the time. I even sleep with them in.  I wear little earrings for everyday but change them when I go out to match my outfits.

 4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese? 

Cheese!!!  I love cheese! I could eat cheese all day in everything.  Last thing I ate was cheese pizza for supper last night and that would probably be my favorite cheesy dish.
5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes?
6. Your favorite book series
I love reading but I don't think I have a favorite series.  I have been pondering this for a bit and can't come up with a favorite set, authors yes but not series.
7. Why did you choose your profession? 
I find this to be an interesting question. First, I am currently a wife and homeschool mom.  This is by far my favorite profession.  However, there was a time when I didn't have my kiddos and I wasn't married. I wanted to be a teacher growing up until I tutored while in high school.  Tutoring did me in and I wanted nothing to do with that profession.  My senior year of high school changed when I found that I really like the office classes I had.  I headed off to college, graduated and with my piece of expensive paper I was able to get a job in Office Technologies.  My first job was working with another lady at a veterinarian's office.  There were 3 vets working out of the same office.  One vet took care of small animals (cats/dogs) and 2 others went to farms and worked with large animals (cows/horses). This was a fun and busy job but I didn't want to continue working evenings and weekends.  My next job was at a vending company office.  It was a busy, stressful job and a pretty far drive so I found another office job at a local dentist office.  I stayed there until I had Madilynne and became a full time stay at home mom.  We now homeschool so I really did go back to my original profession of teacher!   

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I have been doing some de-cluttering and relocating of some things around.  I haven't quite hit my goal to throw away, donate or put away 35 items each day but I have been doing some cleaning up and I feel better about how things look.  I still have problem areas and will most likely always struggle with that but I am making progress. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Recipe Flop!

   I mentioned that Jeremiah bought me a very nice casserole crockpot for Christmas, I think.  I am really liking this appliance.  The one issue I have with it is that the recipes that came with it all use canned soup.  I can't eat canned soup too much as it upsets my stomach.  I have to get creative with trying some recipes on my own. 

   This week I was searching though my recipe binders for some different supper ideas and I stumbled upon a recipe that I printed out in 2013 for Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken.  I hadn't made this recipe yet and I thought that this would be the perfect recipe to try out in the casserole crockpot.  I doubled the recipe since I need to fill both of Ryder's hollow legs. The recipe was easy to follow and didn't require a bunch of odd ingredients.  I mixed up the sauce and placed the chicken breasts in the mix and set the timer on the crockpot to cook.  Oh, it smelled so good!

   In the meantime, my brother, J, called me to ask me some questions about our little nephew that is due to arrive in a couple weeks.  We hadn't talked since Christmas Eve so I was enjoying our conversation and catching up with his holiday activities. I was still laughing and talking when I saw that the time was up on the crockpot and that I needed to complete the recipe.  It stated that I needed to remove the chicken breasts and add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch to the sauce.  Whisk well, cover and return to high for 10 minutes. Shred chicken. 

   Here is where things get messed up a bit...  I buy a lot of my regularly used baking staples in bulk.  I put them in mason jars, cut the label off the front of the package and tape it to the jar.  This works perfectly for me, well until now. 

   I was reading the recipe and knew to double the cornstarch, found my measuring spoon, got into the cabinet and pulled out the cornstarch.  I added it to my sauce and it didn't really look right but I kept on chatting and whisking away.  I figured that it should have started to thicken up a bit by then but oh well, the recipe says to whisk well, cover and return to high for 10 minutes.  No problem.  I did as it said and continued to talk while shredding the chicken breasts.  The 10 minutes passed quickly and when I checked on the sauce it still wasn't thick.  "Well, that's just weird!" I thought to myself.  I decided that I should probably get off the phone and check this out more closely. 

   I reread the recipe.  I did everything correctly, followed all instructions and it still wasn't thick.  Ryder was hungry so I decided to just add the meat and try to figure it out later. Ryder wasn't overly impressed with the taste.  He said it had an odd aftertaste and wasn't sure if he was crazy about this recipe.  Maybe, I shouldn't make it again. I tasted it and thought the same thing.  Ugh, this is just weird but I wasn't wasting 5 chicken breasts!  We were going to eat this regardless of that odd aftertaste. 

   After supper, I was going through the recipe again, trying to figure this mystery out.  I did a play by play in my head with the ingredients.  When I got to the cornstarch part, I reached out my hand to open the cabinet and it hit me!!!  Oh no! I grabbed baking powder instead of cornstarch!!!  Everything made perfect sense now.

   I am going to try this recipe again and hopefully I make it correctly. I don't know where I found this recipe but if it tastes good, I will share the recipe later. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share one thing that really makes your day.
Tea!  I love to have a cup of hot tea every morning while I do my Bible reading.  You would think that I would put Bible but it only asked to share one thing...not the most important thing right?  I love sunny days too.  That is a real motivator!

2. Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are:

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy~Burano, Italy~Havana, Cuba~Rio de Janiero, Brazil~Chefchaouen, Morocco~Balat, Istanbul, Turkey~Menton, France~Jodhpur, India~La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina~Guanajuato, Mexico~Capetown, South Africa~Valparaiso, Chile~Wroclaw, Poland~San Francisco, California~and Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil.  

Of those listed which would you most like to see up close and in person? Of all the places you've seen or traveled in your own life, what would you say was one of the most colorful?
Honestly, none of those places seem like somewhere I want to visit.  Sorry about that but the most colorful place to me is close to home.  We have a spectacular autumn and our leaves are so beautiful.  These pictures don't really do the beauty of the trees justice but it will have to do!

3."Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Jack Canfield  In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?
OK, I am going to be perfectly honest here and say I have no idea what he is trying to say with this statement. It doesn't make any sense to me at all.  But! I am going to say if I could understand what he meant exactly, I would agree, maybe. Here's what I am thinking... We homeschool.  It is scary! The kids education is entirely on me.  I, alone, am responsible for what they learn.  I have to make sure that they are educated to the best of my ability.  It has a level of fear to it. If I succeed then what I want is on the other side of fear.  I think the same thing goes with parenting...  Did I get his statement right?  No clue, but it sounds like a good answer!  Haha!

4. Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and dessert appears...what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?
My dessert choice would probably be Strawberry Shortcake.  I do not struggle with those spellings.

5. What song almost always makes you cry?
At the moment, I will say It Is Well with My Soul. We sang this song Sunday at church and it took all I had not to weep like crazy!  There is just something so moving about this song that I just love!

6. January is National Soup Month.  Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up...which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.
HAHA! I just have to laugh because I have never heard of these sayings!  I must not live in the right part of the world! I can figure out what they would mean, I guess, but it's funny that I never heard of these before.  I don't think any of things really apply to my life.  We are in a very peaceful, quiet time.  We aren't being rushed for anything and nothing is happening at the moment. Ahhh

7. Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say?
Chill out!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It's 0* cold.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you ready for new? Is 2016 likely to be very different than 2015? Do you want it to be?
I am ready for new everyday.  I think we can start out fresh whenever we want. It can be February, June or September. If you need to start fresh- do it- regardless of the date on the calendar!  I liked 2015 but hope that 2016 is just as great or better.  We experienced lost loved ones and gained some new loved ones through birth, marriage or new friends every year.  I think it is how we handle the losses and gains that makes us.  We remember those who are gone but rejoice in the births and those who have joined our family. I pray that we have another wonderful year in 2016.

2. January 6th is National Technology Day. Currently, what is your single biggest struggle or frustration when it comes to technology?
I think that our biggest struggle with technology is our dependence on it.  Many people today have no idea how to function without the help of technology.  It seems to me that instead of using our own brains to come up with solutions  to problems, decorations for our dinner table or the lyrics to a childhood song we all jump on the internet (Pinterest) to copy someone else. I don't think we exercise our brains enough to search for solutions.  Now, having said that I am guilty of looking things up online myself after I try to figure it out on my own.  Technology definitely is a benefit and I won't deny that but I still think that we don't try to figure stuff out on our own first.  Ok, enough said, right?

3. It's that time again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2016. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-

So (at the start of every single sentence), conversation (as in hotly debated topics where we're invited to 'join the conversation'), problematic, stakeholder, price point, secret sauce, break the Internet, walk it back, presser, manspreading (common in larger cities where some men take up the entire bus or train seat by sitting wide), vape, giving me life (refers to anything that may excite a person or make them laugh), and physicality

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?
Nothing on this list bothers me...  I haven't even heard of several of these phrases/words so that probably helps. 

4. Share one of your current health related goals.
I think that my current goals are the same ones I have been trying to achieve for a long time. I try to avoid processed food as much as possible.  It just doesn't seem to agree with me. It's usually not healthy so it should be avoided anyhow. There are also many ingredients listed that are not easy to pronounce so I figure if I struggle to say it or spell it...I shouldn't eat it! It's not a real food.

5. Let's talk fifty shades of gray. As in the color. Gray is currently a popular color in home decor, paint, wardrobes, hair, wedding party attire, and more. Are you a fan? Do you have the color in some variation in your home or wardrobe?  Gray hair, the old gray mare, gray matter, gray area...which gray idiom can you most relate to right now?
Well the first sentence is just nasty.  I don't care to ever hear that phrase again or have that subject brought back up...  but....   to answer the question:  I do not have any gray in my wardrobe.  I am not opposed to the color though.  It just isn't going to be an attractive color on me.  Our bathroom is currently gray but since Jeremiah did some remodeling over the Christmas holiday; it is going to need to be repainted another color. I guess the idiom that is closest to me right now would be gray hair but I refuse to say that, ever!  I have silver strands in my hair- never gray!-ever!   LOL

6. Certain foods are considered 'lucky' if eaten on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Cooked greens to bring economic fortune, black-eyed peas or lentils also symbolize money, pork which symbolizes progress, fish for good luck, and if you're in Spain 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Did you eat any lucky foods on the first day of the year? Is that a tradition in your home? Of the foods listed, which most appeals to you?
I didn't eat any of these foods on January 1.  My extended family usually eats pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes on New Year's Day. We didn't but my mother-in-law did bring hotdogs and sauerkraut to our house on New Year's Eve and I had a krautdog!

7. What's the single biggest time waster in your life and what, if anything, will you do about it this year?
My email- I probably won't do anything about it either.  It has just become a part of life.  I check it and filter through what I want to read and what is trash. I am not worried about the time I spend checking it because it really isn't that long!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Today we will be taking down our Christmas decorations.  It's not a fun job but it is easier to take down than put up. It also helps to make the house not feel so cluttered which is something that I am currently working on.  I am challenging myself to throw away, give away or put away a lot of stuff (about 35 items per day) for the next 2 weeks.  We are a blessed family but I need to get a handle on the "stuff"! It will be a big challenge for us!  I hope to succeed!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Giveaway at A Joyful Chaos!!

  Everyone has a couple blogs that they just can't wait to read the next post right?  I have several of those blogs that I check everyday- EVERYDAY! Honestly. One of those is A Joyful Chaos.  Mary Ann is a sweet lady with a good dose of humor mixed into her blog while keeping things balanced with her family, her books, educating us about the Amish and some posts that will tug at your heartstrings to boot.  

   Mary Ann is an author of several books. I have read her books and they are delightful.  I would encourage anyone to purchase her books.  They are well worth it and you will be entertained no matter your age. If you are a fan of your local library, may I suggest that you ask them to get these delightful books on their shelves.  I read them to both of the kids several years back. The books are for both boys and girls. 

  Mary Ann is hosting a giveaway until January 8. She is giving away a children's book called Lydia's Bonnet by Lillian Stoltzfus.  If you like to try to win head over to Mary Ann's post and leave a comment before Jan. 8th. She is asking us what our least favorite household chore is. Mine is going to be a toss up between folding and putting away laundry or cleaning the bathtub!  Head over and enter the giveaway! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

It's a New Year!

It is time to say goodbye to 2015 and invite 2016 in.  I am not a fan of resolutions. They are promises that you make to yourself that you will break in a couple days to a couple weeks time.  ;-)  I think that a goal is a better way to do it.  By using a goal mindset, you can break down your plans into an easier way to achieve your goal.  Example- Resolution: Lose weight; Goal: Lose one pound a week.  See? You can have a better outcome in my opinion. Now if I would actually do this, right?

Now enough about that... Here are some things that I do every year.  I have been doing these for many years.  I am not going to say that it helps with anything but, hey I do this stuff anyhow!

::I like to completely clean my house and have all the laundry done before the new year arrives.  It's weird- I know.  I have been doing this since 1999/2000 when the whole Y2K thing was going on and I didn't want a messy house if things went bad.  Haha!   We would need clean clothes and dishes. Is it just me or when the electric goes off I want to clean??  We do a lot of running with Christmas and New Years and our house can get a bit on the messy side.  I found that I really liked bringing in the new year with a nice, clean and tidy house.  I have been doing it ever since.

::I buy a new calendar in December and right after Christmas, I transfer all the important info from the old one onto the new one. I list the birthdays and anniversaries and add the new births and wedding anniversaries.  I also add how old the person will be on their birthday if I know it. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of the younger kids!

::I will write 2016 on several checks so I don't mess the date up! 

::I start to take down our Christmas decorations on the first Monday into the new year; one section at a time with the Christmas tree coming down last.  Ryder and Jeremiah don't like it when they come down.  They love Christmas and hate to see the season come to an end.  I usually start with taking down the Christmas cards. It seems to be the easiest transition.

This is just a bit of what we do and a glimpse into our little home.  We will be starting back up with school on Monday also.  We had a nice break but now it's time to get back into our routine. 

I hope that you all have a blessed New Year!