CHAT TIME & Holiday Menus

I’ve gotten away from the chatty daily posts except for recipes and I miss it. Today I sat down to make out menus for upcoming holidays and the rest of the year which left me a little down and frustrated.

I talked to hubby and we made some decisions about the holidays in particular that take us out of our traditional norm. Thanksgiving we usually make a turkey with my dad’s homemade dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy and let’s not forget the green bean casserole. And for Christmas we usually do a prime rib and all the trimmings. I then use the bones and leftover meat for a couple more meals and our New Year’s Eve chili.

Thanksgiving will be just the two of us so we decided to “GO OUT” for the first time ever. Just the thought of all that shopping (not to mention the expense), food preparation and then the clean up was just overwhelming. We priced everything and believe it our not we will save money by going out! There won’t be as many leftovers, but at least I won’t break my back preparing before hand and cleaning up after! I will still make us a special dessert for later that evening. I’m thinking a Key Lime Cranberry Pie or an Apple Rhubarb Slab Pie.

Christmas will also be just the two of us this year, but I don’t want to go out, so will be cooking. BUT, after pricing prime rib and almost having a heart attack (about $150 for just the prime rib) we decided to do an Italian themed Christmas dinner. Hubby is Italian, but his family usually did a traditional American style meal. I had just watched the Hallmark movie, Italian Christmas Memories so that helped me feel inspired, but not inspired enough to do the feast of the 7 fishes. So Christmas dinner will be a small Porchetta with Anchovy Vinegar and Pan Sauce, Sicilian Spaghetti with homemade Sugo and a homemade Panettone.

Now with decisions made, I will go back to making the rest of 2022’s menus and feeling a bit relieved to have the holiday menus off my back. This will also give me the freedom to feel like baking for the neighbor plates I do each year.

The postal staff is already asking what I’ll be making them this year which may sound a bit pushy, but we’re a small town and it makes me feel good that they look forward to my goodies. I still keep a box of goodies and drinks at my front door for delivery drivers and they all know that they are welcome to partake if they need a pick me up during the day even if they are not delivering to my house.


I joined up with Jean over at Chit Chat with Jean to do an accomplishment list for 2022 and a word for the year. This is my 3rd quarterly update. I wondered if I would be successful? I’m impressed that I’m doing really well. I’m also looking forward to doing this all again in 2023. I seem to FINALLY be falling back into my more organized ways. The minimalizing lifestyle has helped tremendously!!

My list for 2022 is:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week. This keeps me more on track and organized about my home life. Doing Happy Homemaker Monday so extensively helps keep me on track as it summarizes the past week and lays out a fairly concise plan for this week. DONE
  • Do 1-2 devotionals every day. DONE, but not as consistent as I’d like 🙁
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime – DONE
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. 1 Christmas quilt wall hanging done almost done, 2 batik table runners in opposing colors are done and but I’m still working on one more quilt, a batik table runner.
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress that will probably take ALL year into next year also.
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Life blog, Chasing MY Life. When I merged my old blogspot blogs into this single blog it duplicated many things and added an “ALL” category that I am having to eliminate one by one so it’s taking a LONG time. This is a serious work in progress that will probably take ALL year into next year also.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. This is a work in progress.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! These are a work in progress.
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. DONE most days
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. This is a serious work in progress that will probably take ALL year, but be done by next March when we are planning a HUGE garage sale.
  • Clean out photo files that date back 13 years! I’m working on it, but it’s really hard. This is a serious work in progress that will always take ALL year, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. Yet to do 😀
  • Go through scrap recipe tote and eliminate all the recipes I will never try – they’re just not worth saving. DONE
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per month. I’m still working on a few of these, but did complete several, one of which was for a Ukranian fund raiser. And hubby and I did one for a date night outing where we went to the afternoon class then dinner out 😀 Neither one of us liked it though so I’m not even posting it 🙁 I’m scheduled for one more “Santa Gnome” this year the first week in November. Isn’t he adorable?
  • Focus on rewriting more recipes to work for only 2 people with NO leftovers. This is a work in progress, but doing REALLY well so far. It has been seriously complicated by the increase in grocery prices 🙁
  • Volunteer at least once a month for a community project. DONE TO DATE
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. I’d like to say we’ve been really good about this, but it’s only happened 3 times so far this year 🙁 1) RICOTTA class at a local winery 2) BURGERS & BEER at a local brewery that opened a new BURGER BOMB food truck 3) Romantic dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant. 4) We spent 2 days at a resort near Lassen National Park hiking and exploring 5) We spent 2 more days at Mt. Shasta also hiking and exploring 6) hubby and I are doing one tomorrow. We’ll go to an afternoon paint class then dinner out 😀 7) We were putting together a trip not to far from home for our anniversary in August, but changed it to one after school started for my birthday and then changed it yet again – we leave on Tuesday! 😀
  • Clean out old files and recycle or destroy old papers. This is still an ongoing work in progress, but I’ve made seriously good progress and will finish through the winter and spring.
  • Clean out craft cabinets and donate craft parts no longer needed. DONE
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. DONE
  • Do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house. DONE
  • Read 36 books. Was hoping for double, but this was a realistic goal and now looks like I’ll actually reach that original hope of double. Since I’m now 3/4 of the way through the year I have high hopes of making that double number. 60 so far1) State of Grace by Marie Force, 2) Swamp Sweets by Jana DeLeon, 3) Beside Golden Irish Fields by Ava Miles, 4) What Child Is This by Rhys Bowen, 5) Women and Children First by Gill Paul, 6) Return to Sender by Jennifer Peel, 7) The Cape May Garden by Claudia Vance, 8) South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber, 9) A Home for Unloved Orphans by Rachel Wesson and 10) All My Loving by Marie Force 11) Wild Widows by Marie Force 12) Return to Sender by Jennifer Peel 13) In Name Only by Jennifer Peel 14) Flame & Fortune by Jana DeLeon 15) The Restaurant by Pamela Kelley 16) Here, There & Everywhere by Marie Force 17) Someone Like You by Marie Force 18) Beach House Romance by Cora Seton 19) Return to Sender by Jennifer Peel 20) In Name Only by Jennifer Peel 21) Silent Partner by Jennifer Peel 22) The Wedding Charm by Susan Hatler 23) The Girl From the Channel Islands 24) Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas 25) The Book of Sorrel by Jennifer Peel 26) Written in the Stars by Noelle Fox 27) The Restaurant by Pamela Kelley 28) Secrets Hidden in the Glass by Cate Beauman 29) Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger 30) The Woman with the Blue Star by Pan Jenoff 31) The Lost Girls by Pam Jenoff 32) The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin 33) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 34) The Stationmaster’s Cottage, #1 Rivers End by Phillipa Nefri Clark 35) Accidentally Matched An Alaska Matchmaker Series by Cathryn Brown #1 36) Finally Matched An Alaska Matchmaker Series by Cathryn Brown #2 37) Hopefully Matched An Alaska Matchmaker Series by Cathryn Brown #3 38) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean 39) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 40) Jasmine Sea, #2 in the Rivers End series by Phillipa Nefri Clark 41) Palmerston House, #3 in the Rivers End series by Phillipa Nefri Clark 42) Last Known Contact by Phillipa Nefri Clark 43) The Honey Bus by Meredith May 44) Deadly Falls #1 Charlotte Dean Mysteries by Phillipa Nefri Clark 45) #2 Charlotte Dean Mysteries by Phillipa Nefri Clark 46) #3 Charlotte Dean Mysteries by Phillipa Nefri Clark 47) #4 Charlotte Dean Mysteries by Phillipa Nefri Clark 48) Hickory Lane by Heather Webber 49) Swamp Spirits #23 Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon 50) UNMISSING by Minka Kent 51) The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent 52) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee 53) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor 54) Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes, Winter Series #1 by Joanne Demaio 55) Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 56) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman 57) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James 58) The Lost Girls of Paris by Pan Jenoff 59) Beyond the Moonlit Sea by Julianne MacLean 60) State of the Union – First Family #3 by Marie Force 61) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent 62) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen 63) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here.


There has been so much going on for so long that I haven’t taken the time to JUST BREATHE. The trip we just finished made me realize how much I need to TAKE the time to catch up with myself instead of the world. 😀

I have finally finished all the laundry and gotten everything put away as well as cleared off my desk. I have a bit more paperwork to get through and some appointments to set up, but that aspect is under control.

As soon as all the Halloween candy was handed out I was ready to move on! And move on to Christmas even though we haven’t had Thanksgiving yet!

I’m not actually decorating yet, BUT I do have MOST of the Christmas presents not only bought, but wrapped too. I will finish up at the local craft fair this weekend and I have a couple shipments coming from Amazon for oddly specific items. I also have the Christmas card envelopes started with the return addresses and stamps.

I did pick up the turkeys yesterday at the grocery store since I had some awesome coupons as well as the necessary staples for the munchkin baking day.


Our old real estate agent sent us an email recently with a few ideas on indoor and outdoor projects for keeping busy during the pandemic and I thought I’d share some of those.

I hope that you and those you love are staying safe and keeping busy. Literally the world over, people are trying to find creative ways to fill their idle time and be productive at home – getting things done around the house, delving into those hobbies and activities they always think about but never have a chance to explore, and spending some good old-fashioned quality time with their family.

  • Outdoor Fun
    • Play hide-and-seek
    • Jump rope
    • Play hopscotch
    • Draw sidewalk chalk art
    • Fly a kite
    • Take a bike ride
    • Go roller skating
  • Indoor Activities


I’m normally a homebody, but I DO normally shop every couple days for fresh ingredients for scratch cooking in between the home projects and we like to get out for a meal or two and see friends.  I especially miss my munchkins and seeing Janie!  BUT, being told to stay home and NOT being able to shop for the FRESH ingredients is a whole other thing!  I am NOT a can and box girl for cooking!

My ‘”STAY AT HOME” time actually began LONG before being told to at the end of February with a bad case of bronchitis. Since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and found out that my “weak” area was my respiratory tract and ANY infection which I became easily prone to, I have been a MAJOR germaphobe.  I get Howie Mandel though I believe Howard Hughes was an extremist I refuse to become.   It was PURE self preservation!  It’s how I have stayed alive all these years.  Now here we are in 2020 and I can FINALLY say, WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

SO, it occurred to me that maybe I’d feel better about all the time confined if I composed a list of everything we accomplished during that time that was not a day to day type of chore. I know I missed a few things probably, but after reading my list I’m just happy to say we didn’t just sit around and watch Netflix though there was plenty of that too! 😀

  • Grocery shopping before I knew I shouldn’t
  • A lot of television, computer and reading while I recuperated
  • cleaned out kitchen drawers
  • menu planned
  • repaired downspout drain
  • dusted and vacuumed
  • paint shelving unit to match hope chest
  • created whiskey barrel planters to cover old tree stumps
  • dusted and cleaned door jambs
  • watched Hallmark movies & shows I missed when I was in college
  • menu planned
  • rebuilt garden planters
  • started jigsaw puzzle
  • cut quilt pieces for 2 quilts
  • Farmer’s Market, NOT, but a girl can dream!
  • cleaned out photo file
  • repaired mudroom step and added missing molding pieces to mudroom
  • rebuilt and stained garage step
  • watched more Hallmark movies and shows I missed when I was in college
  • menu planned
  • added fence bottom
  • cleaned out email SPAM folder
  • paperwork and filing
  • menu planned
  • planted flowers and hummingbird vine
  • watched more Hallmark movies and binge watched shows I missed when I was in college
  • cleaned curio cabinet and washed all the crystal 
  • cleaned and washed the ceiling lights and fan globes
  • pressure washed ALL the concrete front and back
  • cleaned all the eaves and removed the wasp nests
  • cleaned and painted metal porch furniture
  • vacuumed again
  • weeded
  • cleaned out and straightened linen closet
  • menu planned
  • worked on Mirepoix quilt
  • Polished kitchen counter tops
  • worked on Christmas ornament “hooks”
  • scrubbed garden tool shed and painted it
  • organized pantry
  • set sprinklers on timer for spring watering
  • vacuumed garage and washed window curtains
  • scrubbed window awnings free of moss
  • Farmer’s Market NOT, but a girl can dream that it will resume 😀
  • Cleaned baseboards
  • planted tomatoes and zucchini
  • Cleaned out rain gutters of 5 gallons of silt
  • organized big shed
  • hubby gave blood
  • menu planned
  • still working on jigsaw puzzle
  • changed out corroded bathroom light fixture
  • scrubbed rain gutters, but they seriously need painted
  • pruned trees and eliminated volunteers out front
  • pulled weeds and “cleaned up” individual flower planters
  • tried to clean tomato cages up of rust, but had to start with fresh ones, painted the joints to prevent rust this time
  • cleaned out the refrigerators and freezers
  • cleaned oven
  • re-grouted backyard pavers
  • pruned dead growth from trees
  • weeded under those same trees
  • adjusted flower box sprinklers
  • added bolts to garden boxes
  • started Christmas pillowcases
  • cleaning and laundry…and started everything else all over again…

2019 SNOWMAGEDDON update

So while the power is on and the internet is cooperating I’m going to do a quick update.  Hubby had been saying how disappointed he was that snow had been on the forecast all month, but never really materialized.  Well, I’m here to tell you BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

We’re accustomed to snow, lots of it even from our time in the U.P., but unfortunately this little town wasn’t!  They are used to a couple inches that melts away fairly quickly.  It would have been okay and even a little bit funny if it hadn’t happened ALL at once and taken down thousands of trees and the power too!  I was never this cold even during the long winters of the Upper Peninsula… Here we are a week later and still have several inches covering everything.

Hubby tried to keep the walkway cleaned off, but every time he’d finish it would start snowing again.  At one point during the 3 day outage it was warmer in the refrigerator than the house and it continued to snow even more with tons of road closures all hampering the repair crews and their efforts to restore power.  Even the cell towers took a beating leaving us with compromised communication.  My neighbor and I resorted to throwing snowballs at each other’s window to get each other’s attention. 

During daylight hours we would use the cars to charge up phones and electronics which would also help melt the snow off the cars while we sat there getting a little bit warm and charging up. I braved it and walked over to talk with my neighbor.  Neighbors checked on each other and banded together as necessary.  Some were kinda stupid running propane heaters in houses that had gas pilots, letting their kids go out and get cold and wet with no way to warm them back up or take their cars where they couldn’t get out without making a HUGE slushy, icy mess.

I have to tell you 2019 Snowmageddon will not be forgotten ANY time soon.  Remote rural areas will NOT even be restored for weeks to come. 

When we finally left the house we were so surprised by just how many trees and I mean BIG trees had fallen onto and over roadways, onto power lines, houses, cars…  Clean up will take some time!  The sun made an appearance on Friday for a few hours and it felt heavenly, but other than that it has usually only appeared at the end of the afternoon in time to start setting.

Moving right along and checking all the boxes ~ literally and figuratively

Things are moving along here and even seem to be dragging a bit at times, but I know they’ll speed up at the end so am glad to have the time to pack properly and patch nail holes, etc… I’m using canned air and dusting everything REALLY well before packing also to make life easier when we finally unpack.

We are at that point of multiple lists and decisions. I have a list of utility companies, insurances, etc… to call and cancel and another list to just change addresses. I’m also sorting (BIG TIME) and amassing ALL the warranty books and such for appliances and things for the new owner to make his life easier.  I’m even including a list of the plumbers, pest control, utility companies and electrician that we used in case he needs anything since they are already familiar with the property.

With knowing that things are going to storage for a period of time, we chose to use ALL new boxes for a couple of reasons. The first being that NEW coordinated boxes are sturdier and stack better for a cross country move and in the storage unit itself. The second being that there isn’t a chance of food stuffs or bugs from older or grocery oriented boxes going with us. We have had to make a couple of boxes to replace boxes that are no longer viable for odd shaped pieces.

We are also wrapping furniture (especially the antiques) in sheets and shrink wrap to protect the woods from dust and drying out too much. Most of the upholstered furniture is being sold or donated as it just doesn’t hold up well in storage.


Somehow in Chasing MY Life I got away from my actual description of the journey.  My life became all about the kitchen, well at least primarily.  One of the discoveries I’ve made with life altering surgery that changed how I eat is that my life is no longer just about the food and recipes.

So, as we say goodbye to A HOUSE FROM HELL, put EVERYTHING in storage and begin the next leg of our journey to spend some time concentrating on working out and recovery and then search for our next project (hopefully our last) I want to return to my blogger roots and chronicle ALL of life.

I’ve been getting organized to get back into link parties and such, just searching around to see who is still out there and where the parties are at. I have found that many of my old favorites are no longer, but there are soooooooo many new parties to link up to which leads me to my post title, SO MANY LINKS, SO MANY BLOGS… just NOT ENOUGH TIME. Initially I’m choosing link parties by whether or not their title peaked my interest.

AND soooo many parties are now co-hosted which creates even MORE links to explore so I’m still reading as much as I can and finding new interests to become a part of.

I’m sure I’ll will find many more new blogs and parties on my future journeys, but for now I’m excited to be joining these new linky parties on a regular basis.

DISHING IT & DIGGING IT at Rustic & Refined
SUNDAY’S BEST at Mother 2 Mother
SUNDAYS AT HOME at Celebrating Everyday Life and My Soulful Home

CELEBRATE YOUR STORY at Celebrate & Decorate,
COOKING & CRAFTING with J&J AT Julie’s Creative Lifestyle
HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY at The Dedicated House
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH MONDAY at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
MENU PLAN MONDAY at I’m an Organizing Junkie
MERRY MONDAY at Two Chicks and A Mom
MIX IT UP MONDAY at Flour Me With Love
SHOW and SHARE at Coastal Charm

TAKE OUT TUESDAY at The Painted Apron
TREASURE BOX TUESDAY at Memories by the Mile
TUESDAYS WITH A TWIST at Stone Cottage Adventures

DELICIOUS DISHES at Walking On Sunshine
SHARE YOUR CUP @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

FAVORITE THINGS at Katherine’s Corner
FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage

BLOGGERS PIT STOP at The Blogger’s Lifestyle
HOME MATTERS at Life with Lorelai
KITCHEN FUN & CRAFTY FRIDAY at Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons



It’s been a busy week, but odd with the holiday falling in the middle. I was impressed with what I accomplished, but am extremely disappointed in a few of the “professionals” I had to deal with in trying to transfer some medical records.

One of the things I have been working on while “locked” inside during this heat is to bring forward to this new blog anything worth hanging onto and the recipes worth repeating from all my old blogs.  I am also trying to eliminate the posts from all the old blogs at the same time.

A couple of the recipes worth making again are:

I also found a couple of handy tips worth repeating:

I also did a good deep clean on the floors while I could and my faithful sidekick fought me ALL the way, NOT, LOL.

We’re helping my uncle tomorrow (hubby outside and me inside) and then coming home to watch NASCAR, weather permitting as it has already rained out tonight’s race.  I have a nice dinner planned for when we get back as well as Sunday and am looking forward to some down time.


CHAT TIME ~ Life as it Happens ~ WEEKLY WRAP UP

With all the work on the House From Hell, I got away from my Life as it Happens of just chatting once a week or so.  It’s time to start doing a weekly wrap-up again.

Things have finally slowed down a bit in my life, but as it happens, just in time to get crazy again. In 2011 I had my cancer surgery and began the long trek back to health and fitness.  All in all, I was already pretty healthy and fit – I mean I cook from scratch, perimeter shop without the junk food and eat extremely little fast food.  The oncologist had said that those 3 things probably helped save my life as the cancer had nothing to feed on in my body.

But, the length of surgery caused another problem.  Turns out I had a Hiatal hernia and the stomach acid seeped up and started eating away my esophagus. So, a year later I had to have another operation to remove the shredded esophagus and rebuild the valve.  Then 9 months later an allergic type reaction to a prescription they gave me for my Fibromyalgia started lowering my potassium levels and shutting down my heart and I collapsed, literally close to death.  Fortunately, hubby insisted they take me to the hospital despite the idiot ambulance driver who was convinced I’d been drinking (strongest thing I EVER drink is iced tea) and tried to get me to sign a waiver so he didn’t have to transport me. The hospital staff work quickly to revive my potassium to a safe level and life went on.  When I came to though out on the street I became violently ill.  A few weeks later I knew something was wrong and several weeks after that I had surgery to repair my stomach and esophagus, AGAIN.

Fast forward a few years later and guess what? Here we are again.  Turns out I appear to be a statistic, a part of those late night commercials for the class action suits against products that fail.  I don’t see the surgeon for a couple weeks, but have been doing research and it appears from the last article I read that the type of mesh used to repair my stomach failed 17 out of 24 times – not very good odds in my opinion.  I’m anxious to meet the new surgeon who has gotten rave reviews from patients and doctors alike, and see what he has to say about a more permanent fix.

I have begun amassing cooking magazines and simple projects like changing over the address book, password book, etc… for when I’m laid up.  Unfortunately, this type of surgery leaves you unable to do much more than walk (no lifting, no stretching, etc…) after for quite awhile and on a very strict liquid to soft foods diet for quite a long time too.  I figured I would use the time to read, develop some ideas for new recipes and work on updating the blog compilation. I might be able to do a few simple craft projects to.

At least it is summer and since I’m relegated to the indoors during this weather anyway, it’s a good time to get well.