HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 50 of 2018

GOOD MORNING sweet friends!  It’s really early here – I absolutely HATE early morning appointments ESPECIALLY on a Monday and when it’s rainy and foggy on top of that. But, it was all that was available in December that worked with the schedule.  At least we’re getting an early start 😀

I hope you had a great week/weekend.  Ours was extremely cold and wet, but productive.  We also managed to get the DVR cleaned out and watch some football too.

Be sure to link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING

RAIN, COLD and MORE RAIN and COLD!  BUT, I’m loving it.  Slowly, but surely I’m getting more cold weather gear together – that’s the hard part about moving from where it was hot and humid to here.  We’re supposed to be in the mid 40’s ALL week and WET!  Our lows are dipping into the 20’s and 30’s at night.

I’m wearing Levi’s with my pink turtleneck and gray hoodie with warm socks and boots 😀

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATESAME OLD, SAME OLD Green Tea, banana and yogurt

CRAFTS / PROJECTS – I finally finished the Christmas present for my friend and neighbor and it now resides on her front porch so I can show you the finished project.  It’s a reversible scarecrow and snowman.  I saw one in an antique store that was all beat up and crudely done plus they wanted a small fortune for it so hubby built one for me and I painted and decorated it. Hubby was nice enough to build me one too!

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY – I really LOVE Christmas, but HATE crowds.  So I sat down yesterday and made up my menu through the first week of January so that the next time I go grocery shopping I should be able to get EVERYTHING I need other than the obvious perishables and meat that comes from the butcher.  At least any other stops will be a quick trip through the express line.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA – I really love how the clouds were hugging the mountain tops lately.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS /  APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… All caught up
  • LIVING AREAS… vacuuming
  • KITCHEN… empty the dishwasher, clean the pantry
  • YARD… lots of rain, so nothing
  • BLOG… getting caught up on BLOGMAS, ELF on the SHELF, recipes
  • PROJECTS… baking for the Giving Plates
  • APPOINTMENTS… nothing til 2019 after hubby’s dental appointment this morning
  • TO DO… still have 3 gifts to do that I’m a bit stumped on, menu updating, recipe development

I’M READING – I just started Marie Force’s Fatal Invasion (book 13 of this series) – I’ve been reading her since she first started writing and love her characters and series. ANNABELLE UPDATES FROM LAST WEEK – AnnaBelle has been busy this week getting into trouble AND keeping her friends entertained.  

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

DESSERT

MONDAY – FRIDAY

GREEN TEA,

BANANA & YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY

BUFFALO CHICKEN MAC & CHEESE NESTS

TUESDAY

WINTER PORK ROAST & DUCHESS POTATO CASSEROLE

WEDNESDAY

CHICKEN CONTINENTAL

THURSDAY

BBQ CHICKEN MAC & CHEESE BITES

FRIDAY

R.E.D. recipe experiment dinner

SATURDAY

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

SUNDAY

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

BLOGMAS 2018 – DAY 10 – HANDMADE OR ???

Please note that I have changed from inlinkz to Mr. Linky because inlinkz is being a HUGE pain!!!!!! So do you make your gifts or buy the? Honestly these days some things just can’t be made time or money wise, at least not efficiently. But, when possible I make gifts just to let others know I was thinking of them and cared enough to do it myself.  I especially love when I can make a little something to surprise a friend with, especially emphasizing the word surprise.Over the years I have made everything, and I do mean everything at one time or another to create a handmade Christmas. I’ve made rolls and rolls of butcher paper into wrapping paper, cut grocery bags into handmade tags, made enough fudge, candies and cookies to feed a small country, as well as jams, jellies, soup mixes and Snowman soup!

My award winning jams were requested one year at the Church Christmas Boutique and I ended up selling them every year for another 10 years before we moved.  Now I make just enough as gifts for neighbors and family.  I started making Snowman Soup about 20 years ago for the girl scouts and it was a HUGE seller at our gift wrap days and later for the Church Boutique.

For the things I didn’t make myself, I at least bought from local crafters.
As for receiving, I love ANYTHING handmade.  I’m a BIG believer that it’s the thought that counts and that caring action ALWAYS touches my heart though I’m partial to cotton crocheted dishcloths, my brothers photographs, my mom’s quilted totes and ANYTHING food.

 

BLOGMAS 2018 -DAY 9 – WINTER WONDERLAND PICTURES

This was 2014 and one of my favorite picture years.  Plus a few NEW pictures.

The Festival of Lights is now 25 years old and a great way to kick off the holiday season. It’s ALL Volunteer and NON-Profit.  It began as a fundraiser sponsored by the Rotary Club to help get the city out of debt and then took on a life of its own and now helps with scholarships and special projects. The festival runs every night from Thanksgiving to New Years.  So if you have company in town for Thanksgiving it’s a great jump start to your holidays.  You can drive your own car or take a horse drawn carriage ride through the displays.  They have also coordinated a local radio station to listen to as you view the displays.  The night we went through the fog was moving in early so a few of the pictures look a bit “smoky”.

As of this year they have the world’s tallest (41 feet, 16,000 pounds with  working jaw) nutcracker built by a local company, 500,00 lights, 90 animated displays, 3D displays, horse drawn carriage rides through the displays and a Holiday Village with Santa, hot cider with a bake sale and a synchronized light show in the courtyard.  The displays depict fairy tales, the military, patriotism, the local logging industry, local vineyards, local fishing and the traditional Christmas songs and scenes.  People come from all over to see it. Unfortunately for locals, it doesn’t change much, but is still fun every few years.

Three of my favorite munchkins from next door were coincidentally there the same night we were so had to snap a few pictures of the discussions with Santa. They have grown SOOOOOOOO much!
Even the lights with errors turned out cute.  It was difficult to get great pictures or continuous pictures of the animated scenes since there were so many cars behind us.
This snowman is on a corner in our neighborhood hugging a light standard.
And these pictures were from 2013 – the year of the “white” one 😀
Hubby made this for me to wake up to in the back yard before the snow got too bad.
The house across the street usually looks horrible, but NOT when it’s under a blanket of snow.
Unfortunately, being in a cul-de-sac, delivery tracks leave MANY tire tracks at this time of year to mar the beautiful snow cover.
Even Rudolph was shivering! But not this year as he was donated to charity last year 😀
The first day after he storm was absolutely gorgeous though!
The duck pond behind the neighborhood was truly a work of art.
Obviously we hadn’t gone anywhere – no tire tracks!
The fish ladder was like glass with the cold and ice.



MONGOLIAN BEEF ala INSTANT POT

MONGOLIAN BEEF serves 6

2 pounds flank steak, sliced into thin strips across the grain
1/3 cup cornstarch
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
3/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1 cup water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 cup shredded or julienned carrots
Sliced green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish
Cooked white rice

  • Place flank steak strips in a 1 gallon resealable bag.
  • Add cornstarch, seal bag and shake to coat evenly.
  • In a medium bowl, add ginger root, garlic, soy sauce,  water, brown sugar and Hoisin sauce stirring well to combine.
  • Set your Instant Pot to the saute setting.
  • Add olive oil.
  • When olive oil is heated, add beef and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour mixture over beef and stir to combine.
  • Add carrots and stir again.
  • Turn Instant Pot off.
  • Place the lid on and lock.
  • Steam release knob should be set on “sealing”.
  • Cook on manual setting (high pressure) for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove lid and stir.
  • Serve over cooked white rice and top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

BLOGMAS 2018 – DAY 8 – FAVORITE STORIES

This story originally came across my email several years ago and I was reminded that it is a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas Holiday spirit so I thought I’d share. This is such a beautiful story that makes you understand that things truly do happen for a reason. Don’t forget to grab the tissue box.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc… and on December 18th they were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 19th a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc… to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. ‘Pastor,’ she asked, ‘where did you get that tablecloth?’ The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a house cleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the Tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

This true Story was submitted by Pastor Rob Reid.

There are so many other Christmas stories.  What is your favorite?  I ALSO love this Helen Steiner Rice poem and try very hard to adopt the Christmas spirit as an everyday way of life.



BLOGMAS 2018 – DAY 7 – MEMORIES

WOW there are so many! One of my favorites was when I was 5 and I got my tea table – my uncle sure looked silly sitting at that table drinking tea with me 😀 Then when  I was 9 my aunt came to visit from Texas for Christmas and was sitting on the floor in a leather dress playing Barrel of Monkeys with the younger kids or maybe the year I got my first bike, whoops wait that was the birthday before Christmas.

My grandfather worked for General Electric as an X-ray technician of sorts (he oversaw the installation and calibration of X-ray equipment) and one year he brought home a GE Snow tree and ornaments (I still don’t know the correlation between between being an X-ray technician and Christmas trees). Anyway this tree had a HUGE cardboard base and once the tree was up and decorated you filled this base with thousands of tiny Styrofoam balls and when you turned the switch on the tree would make it’s own snow.  As a kid I thought it was pretty cool, but as an adult I look back and realize what a MESS it made!! Especially when the wind was blowing and static electricity was high – those damn balls stuck to EVERYTHING!

But wait, that is not my favorite memory.  It turns out that my favorite memory is of trying to stump my dad each year with his gift – it became a mission of sorts to be the first to stump him.  I swear the man was Carnac when it came to knowing what was inside a box. We tried EVERY year to stump him and I don’t remember ever being able to do it.  We tried adding bricks, taping a silver dollar with duct tape to the bottom so it would flip back and forth to make noise when you shook it, adding a pair of shoes… but he ALWAYS guessed!  I don’t know how he did it.