NEW BEGINNIGS, LUCK & STILL GOING STRONG ~ BLOG 366.41B

A New Beginning… and Lucky… and still going strong 13 years later… so 13 IS a lucky number…

13 years ago I’d been struggling with a way to get back into the swing of things here in blogland.

You see I’d been struck with those words that we all fear hearing from our doctor. You know, any phrase that includes the words cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. For me it was the worst Christmas present imaginable so I persevered and didn’t really let on to most of the family in the beginning – no sense ruining anyone else’s holidays since no further testing could be scheduled until after Christmas.  

You do truly go through the 5 stages of grief augmented with periods of disbelief and a lack of comprehension when you get news like that.  It doesn’t matter how well schooled you are or how intelligent you are, those words hit you like a ton of bricks.

Just before my diagnosis I had begun my food blog, Always Eat On The Good China, I developed the name after reading a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote when she knew she was dying from cancer.  I even put a quote from her on my side bar that I found extremely poignant. At the time I had no idea how apropos it would be. I have since combined the many blogs, but it worked to set my attitude.

It was around that same time that I had an appendicitis attack – I still had my appendix and it had been chronic since I was 9 years old.  Or at least I thought I was having an appendicitis attack.  We now know that I was having pain from my ovary that was growing into what was being described as a baseball to small cantaloupe sized mass.

Fortunately for me at my well woman exam that year the nurse practitioner noticed what she thought was an enlarged uterus and she ordered an ultrasound because she feared uterine cancer.

The ultrasound was on the Tuesday after Christmas. The words changed, but stayed the same, cancer was still in the phrase, but now it was ovarian cancer. To it they added terms like tumor and oncologist.

My brand new doctor (I’d never met him prior to the ultrasound tech calling him into the exam) in a brand new town thought I was in shock because I didn’t cry and react hysterically. He just didn’t know me well enough to know I was really okay.  But, I’m a fixer, so my next phrase is always, what next? 

What next turned out to be a referral to MD Anderson Cancer Center and a surgical oncologist, Dr. Diane Bodurka, whom I adore by the way! She and her team made it possible for me to stay both positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Motto is “making cancer history” which struck me as the right positive note for me.

The next 2 weeks and 5 days were a whirlwind of blood draws, X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, chemical stress tests, consultations, clearances and…

I underwent surgery on February 1st knowing full well all the fine print, legal jargon and potential pitfalls of this diagnosis.  I also knew that because of the size, I would awake to only a possible pathology. Instead I awoke to hear things like “self-contained”, “experimental chemo pelvic wash and expensive shots”, ”no metastasis” and “surveillance” as well as that the cantaloupe was actually a volleyball with a balloon twist. 

While we waited for the final pathology I was home after a week in the hospital and catering to the whims of a 10 inch zipper through multiple layers of muscle that posed their own issues due to my Systemic Lupus and getting my energy back while regenerating the tissue.

Honestly when I was able to think straight again all I started hearing was dollar signs when I thought about what the insurance would and would not cover. I cannot tell you or ever express how thankful I am to have been in the right place at the right time, even if it was for a bad thing like the BIG C. MD Anderson went above and beyond to find benefactors to cover the experimental procedures that the insurance would not cover.

Because of my family history (maternal grams had breast cancer twice and her sister died of it 🙁 ) I did require more testing including the BRCA testing which at the time took a lot for the insurance to cover. Fortunately, the test was negative. I tell you I would have had the surgery in a heartbeat had the test been positive.

Before it was all over I had signed about a million forms (only a slight exaggeration) so that the tumor could be sliced up and sent to various research facilities as it was now classified as a “RARE and UNCOMMON” gynecological tumor.

With that I’ll leave you with this email story that crossed my desk a while back. True or not, it’s heart warming and endearing and worth the read. It struck me a bit close to home because I had my own Lucky back at home named Whiskey. My uncle said all she would do was lay on my bed and hang her head sadly.

I choose to believe in the bright and positive. I have had quite a few other health scares since that day, but it taught me NOT to take anything for granted! EVER!

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’



Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

 She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.



The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap. 

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.

Lucky… He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

Remember….live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

30th ANNIVERSARY of the NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE ~ BLOG 366.17

This is ALWAYS one of those dates that sticks with me! 30 years ago today, on a holiday Monday, my world turned upside down (along with thousands of others) when at 4:31 AM the Northridge earthquake struck and we lost it all. Even after growing up in southern California and knowing about, as well as living through other major quakes, the memories of this one in particular are VERY vivid. I honestly thought a jet plane had crashed into the neighborhood from the violent way it all happened (I was literally thrown out of bed across the room and had bruises on the bottoms of my feet for a month), but I lived on a street near a DWP plant and what I thought I saw was actually the transformers on the pole tops all blowing one after another…

I realize now that we were very fortunate.

The major shock lasted 10–20 seconds and its peak ground acceleration of 1.82 g was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America and registered a magnitude of 6.7. It was caused by dip slip on a thrust fault—the overriding movement of one crustal block up and over a second crustal block.

This is what was left of the parking garage I would have been parked in later that day had it not been a federal holiday for Martin Luther King day.

When it was all over, my feet were bruised so badly on the bottom I could barely stand, a freight train had gone through my hallway while a volcano had gone off in my house – at least that’s how it felt.  I was thrown from bed into a doorway, thank God.  When I was able to look into that same room all I saw was chaos and my bed was covered in shattered glass as well as several hundred pounds of books from the nearby bookcase. The new semester had just started, but there’d b about no college for quite some time as CSUN had sustained just as much damage.

When it did begin classes were held under trees, in tents and just about anywhere available. But, we also had nowhere to park as you can see and had to walk quite a ways from parking on side streets and such. They quickly converted some previous fields to parking lots, but it was still near impossible to get parking unless you got there at the crack of dawn.

This is the first piece of Princess House crystal I ever purchased and the ONLY piece I have left. Only God knows how it survived that day since NOTHING else did. In it are the shells from the Galveston, Texas Gulf Coast that I have collected with my cousin Jenn throughout my life. She and I neither one live there now, but do still have friends and family in the vicinity.

I still can’t believe it’s been 30 years today. Life has carried on and we no longer live in earthquake land, but since then we’ve been through other natural disasters like blizzards, tornadoes, major floods, hurricanes, SNOWMAGEDDON… all of this making me realize it doesn’t matter where you are there is always going to be something…

2023 END OF YEAR UPDATE ~ BLOG 366.2 ~ with 2024 NEW YEAR GOALS

Can you believe 2023 IS OVER? LOL ,There are only 359 days until Christmas! 🙂 All kidding aside I want to make the most of 2024. I don’t make resolutions per se, but I want to do more this year. I LOVE the idea of embracing my age… living more, being better, having more joy, happiness, sharing your life, getting back to basics and being led by Christ in EVERYTHING because it sounds like the perfect attitude for a GREAT 2024. Happy New Year my friends. May it be our best one yet! We even get and extra day to make it that way!

When I took that silly Facebook game last December it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I liked PROGRESS better and I was wrong. 2023 truly became the year of RESILIENCE as I dealt with the adversity of a truly narcissistic witchy woman and multiple family health issues. So deciding on using both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS was better. I was only wishful thinking though! But seeing that the meme spoke to me I decided to add BALANCE which was insightful and very helpful in the end! I truly believe all three words worked hand in hand to make life easier and happier in the long run for me.

In 2024 I have new words, but I don’t want to “throw out” the old words. I decided to ADD to them to last year’s words. This year I’m adding SURVIVAL and CONTENTMENT. But, the story doesn’t end there. Day 1 of 2024 threw yet another curve ball at me with some Eagle’s issues and such so I’m adding yet another word – FLEXIBILITY!

RESILIENT PROGRESS with BALANCE, SURVIVAL, CONTENTMENT & FLEXIBILITY!

I no longer have a word, but a sentence to live by!

Oh, and that witchy woman? We ALL persevered and she’s now being nice to MANY people 😀

Update to MY list for 2023 WAS:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. 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 I haven’t missed one in years I’m proud to say.
  • I joined Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023! This task became VERY challenging during the summer from hell, but I did it (for the most part)! Sometimes the post was a full one, but other times it was simply an inspirational picture. I may not always have gotten the logo in! This was a HUGE endeavor last year with the summer from hell with the water main break and rebuild of the EAGLE’S lodge. 2024 brings a new opportunity to try again and even adds in an extra day with leap year 😀
  • Do a devotional every day. This category was serious wishful thinking and I tabled it to a 2024 goal. I seriously need to get better in this category. When time falls short and there is so much to do, personal time AND pampering time always take a back seat 🙁 I chose “100 days of FAITH over FEAR” devotional to begin 2024 with.
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime. This has become habit and has been working really well.
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. 2023 started off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m STILL hoping to get to them in 2024. The plan for 2023 had been that my girlfriend and were going to do 8 table runners for the Eagle’s Lodge, but that was before we were overloaded with the great rebuild. We’re going to try and get those done in 2024.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. This category was going well, even pretty good before it took a dive, but I took the fall/holiday season to improve! Now to just keep it going in 2024.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! I can’t seem to find the time to do these, but will keep working on it.
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing. Once again with the cooler weather this will become a more accomplished category.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. DONE TO DATE As we continue to go antiquing I have added more questions to my thought process about whether I really need and/or will use something before I buy it.
  • 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2023,2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These have been in the works for awhile, but I’m going to get them done this year. 🙁 I’m hoping to use the January rainy indoor time to accomplish this category.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month. NOT so good last year as it was filled with working on the estate sales with a friend as well as our own garage sale through the horribly long and cold/wet winter and spring followed by the summer of excessive work. Hubby and I did schedule a date night paint class last October and a I gave a friend a gift certificate for the paint class of her choice for a girl’s day out. I did this guy done as a pillow and want to another on the backside of the pillow soon. And hubby and I did do a date night for the black and white wolves.
  • Focus on rewriting more recipes to work for only 2 people with NO leftovers. This is a work in progress, but doing REALLY well still. It has been seriously complicated by the increase in grocery prices 🙁 A friend loaned me her mom and grandma’s recipe boxes which was fun for some new recipes. It also helped with the “clutter” since I only photoed those recipes I REALLY wanted to make – so I only “rented” them and I am still making my way though those recipes with GREAT success.
  • Volunteer at least once a month for a community project. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I SERIOUSLY accomplish regularly and enough for the both of us. 😀 2023 included the the weekly shopping for the Lodge, the Chili Throwdown, Blackberry Festival, Trunk or Treat, Timber Town Parade and I’m now helping write some grant proposals and do some fundraisers to get the Eagles building updated externally, a paved parking lot and a few other beautification projects.
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. In February we planned a Valentine’s couples painting class that didn’t happen but in March we went for a special romantic dinner to TRUE KITCHEN for hubby’s birthday and it was fantastic. In January we were going to go to the beach antique shopping and a special dinner out at Waterfront Depot, an old train depot on the bay, but weather was been so bad and medical appointments didn’t line up so we postponed that until later. In April we finally made it to the coast and did some antiquing also. We have done several dinner nights and out to see a popular local oldies band several times including New Year’s Eve. And we did go to a paint class in October that was a bit challenging being all black and white. We have the same plan for this year of once a month date night, but have yet to decide on specifics.
  • 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 in 2023 and so far through 2024 and will finish through next winter.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. 😀
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house no matter what year it is!
  • Read 36 books which I fell a bit short of. I was hoping for double this year over last year! 36 WAS a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 in 2022 which made me REALLY happy, but yet life took over in 2023! I read an article just today about how reading is good for your mental health.The ones I read in 2023 were:
    1) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff
    2) Undertow by Jana DeLeon
    3) Someone to Love by Marie Force
    4) State of Bliss by Marie Force
    5) A Vineyard Lullaby by Katie Winters
    6) A Vineyard Vow by Katie Winters
    7) At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber
    8) The Menu Match by Philipa Nefri Clark
    9) The Christmas Match by Philipa Nefri Clark
    10) State of Denial by Marie Force
    11) Fortune Teller by Jana DeLeon
    12) A Vienyard White Christmas by Katie Winters
    13) A Vineyard Thanksgiving by Katie Winters
    14) August Sunsets by Katie Winters
    15) Firefly Nights by Katie Winters
    16-19) House Above the Bookshop by Sage Parker

    20) Clue Krewe by Jana DeLeon
    21) The Long and Winding Road by Marie Force
    22) August Sunsets by Katie Winters
    23) The Sunrise Cove Inn by Katie Winters
    24) The Heart Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark+ a few cookbooks and several magazines
  • Here’s a list of the books I have in queue for 2024 – a double baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change them to green in color. This category suffered tremendously from July-September 2023 during the 7 day work weeks I was too tired to read at the end of the day and I was slow to get back into the habit so we’re rolling them into 2024.
    1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean

    2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May
    3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee
    4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor
    5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman
    6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James
    7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent
    8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen
    9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford
    10) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee
    11) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage
    12) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby
    13) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham
    14) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force.
    15) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force
    16) Summer Magic #1 The Thorne Witches by T.M. Crom
    17) Find Her by Chris Patchell
    18) On The Market (Texas BBQ Brothers #1) by Audrey Wick
    19) We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
    20) A New Choice (The new Beginnings Series #1) by Michelle MacQueen
    21) The Copperfield House (A Nantucket Sunset series #1) by Katie Winters
    22) Under the Maui Sky #1 Maui Island by Kellie Coates Gilbert
    23) Justice, A Rocky Mountain Thriller by Ann Voss Peterson
    24) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
    25) Girl One Murder ~ FBI Suspense Thriller #1 by Maya Gray
    26) Lost & Found ~ A Clean Small Town Romance #1 by Lucinda Race
  • I had added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here. I’ll work on a spring list if it ever happens 😀 – never got around to the spring list and it turned into the summer list which is primarily figuring out and solving the irrigation and water issues around here. I never got around to a spring, let alone a summer list so this category has been a COMPLETE dud!
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year LOL NEXT year.
  • 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 and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year into the next again.

3/4 YEARLY LIST UPDATE ~ BLOG 365.273

It’s 3/4 YEAR update time. Can you believe we’re 3/4’s of the way through the year? This year seems to be speeding by faster and faster! We’re only 86 days from Christmas.

When I took that silly Facebook game last December it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I liked PROGRESS better and I was wrong. This truly became the year of RESILIENCE as I dealt with the adversity of a truly narcissistic witchy woman. So deciding both on both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS was better, I was only wishful thinking! But seeing that the meme spoke to me I decided to add BALANCE which was insightful and very helpful in the end! I truly believe all three words are working hand in hand to make life easier and happier in the long run for me.

Update to MY list for 2023 is:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. 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 TO DATE
  • I also decided the join Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023! This task became VERY challenging during the summer from hell, but I’ve done it (for the most part) AND will be caught up this month. Sometimes the post was a full one, but other times it was simply an inspirational picture. I may not always get the logo in, but I will get the post done! DONE TO DATE except a few back posts I’m working on to get up to date. This was a HUGE endeavor this year with the summer from hell with the water main break and rebuild of the EAGLE’S lodge.
  • Do a devotional every day. This category has been serious wishful thinking and I think I need to table it to a 2024 goal. I seriously need to get better in this category. When time falls short and there is so much to do, personal time AND pampering time always take a back seat 🙁
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime. DONE TO DATE (pretty well) this has become habit and working really well.
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. This year is starting off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m hoping to get to them soon. I still have 3 months to try and finish this category. The plan had been my girlfriend and I doing 8 table runners for the Eagle’s Lodge, but that was before we were overloaded with the great rebuild.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. This category was going well, even pretty good before it took a dive, but I’m going to take the fall/holiday season to improve!
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! I can’t seem to find the time to do these, but will keep working on it.
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing. Once again with the cooler weather this will become a more accomplished category.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. DONE TO DATE As we continue to go antiquing I have added more questions to my thought process about whether I really need and/or will use something before I buy it. I have a couple boxes of old toys that I’m meeting with my antiques guy to sell.
  • 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These have been in the works for awhile, but I’m going to get them done this year. 🙁 I’m hoping to use the rainy indoor time to accomplish this category.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month. NOT so good this year as it has been filled with working on the estate sales with a friend as well as our own garage sale through the horribly long and cold/wet winter and spring followed by the summer of excessive work. Hubby and I have scheduled a date night paint class the third week of October and a I gave a friend a gift certificate for the paint class of her choice for a girl’s day out. I’ve also signed up for these 2 fun paintings:
  • 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 🙁 A friend loaned me her mom and grandma’s recipe boxes which was fun for some new recipes. It also helped with the “clutter” since I only photoed those recipes I REALLY wanted to make – so I only “rented” them and I am making my way though those recipes with GREAT success.
  • Volunteer at least once a month for a community project. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I SERIOUSLY accomplish regularly and enough for the both of us. 😀 This year included the Chili Throwdown, Blackberry Festival and I’m now helping write some grant proposals to get the Eagles building updated externally, a paved parking lot and a few other beautification projects.
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. In February we were going to take a Valentine’s couples painting class that didn’t happen but in March we went for a special romantic dinner to TRUE KITCHEN for hubby’s birthday and it was fantastic. In January we were going to go to the beach antique shopping and a special dinner out at Waterfront Depot, an old train depot on the bay, but weather has been so bad and medical appointments didn’t line up so we postponed this until later this year. In April we finally made it to the coast and did some antiquing also. We have done several dinner nights and out to see a popular local oldies band several times including just last weekend. We did sign up for a paint class at the end of October that is going to be a bit challenging being all black and white. We’ll see how that goes.
  • 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 in 2022 and so far through 2023 and will finish through next winter.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. Good so far.
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house. I am proud to say that despite my issues with our narcissistic dictator like auxiliary president I have kept my positive attitude and still accomplished this category every day.
  • Read 36 books. Hoping for double this year over last year! 36 was a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 which makes me REALLY happy!  Here’s a list of the books I have in queue – a baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change their number to red. This category suffered tremendously from July-September during the 7 day work weeks I was too tired to read at the end of the day. 1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean 2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May 3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee 4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor 5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman 6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James 7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent 8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen 9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford 10) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff 11) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee 12) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage 13) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby 14) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 15) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force. 16) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force 17) Summer Magic #1 The Thorne Witches by T.M. Crom 18) Clue Crewe by Jana De Leon 19) Cauldron’s Call by Kristen Proby 20) Find Her by Chris Patchell 21) The Sunrise Cove Inn (Vineyard series #1) by Katie Winters 22) Firefly Nights (Vineyard series #2) by Kate Winters 23) On The Market (Texas BBQ Brothers #1) by Audrey Wick 24) We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker 25) A New Choice (The new Beginnings Series #1) by Michelle MacQueen 26) The Copperfield House (A Nantucket Sunset series #1) by Katie Winters 27) Firefly Nights, #2 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 28) August Sunsets, #3 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 29) Under the Maui Sky #1 Maui Island by Kellie Coates Gilbert 30) Fortune Teller #25 Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon 31) State of Denial #5 First Family series by Marie Force 32) The Heart Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 33) The Menu Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 34) The Christmas Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 35) Justice, A Rocky Mountain Thriller by Ann Voss Peterson 36) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 37) Girl One Murder ~ FBI Suspense Thriller #1 by Maya Gray 38) Lost & Found ~ A Clean Small Town Romance #1 by Lucinda Race 39) A Vineyard Thanksgiving #4 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 40) A Vineyard White Christmas #5 by Kate Winters 41) A Vineyard Vow #6 by Katie Winters 42) A Vineyard Lullaby #7 by Katie Winters 43) State of Denial by Marie Force 44) At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here. I’ll work on a spring list if it ever happens 😀 – never got around to the spring list and it turned into the summer list which is primarily figuring out and solving the irrigation and water issues around here. I never got around to a spring, let alone a summer list so this category has been a COMPLETE dud!
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year LOL NEXT year.
  • 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 and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year into the next also at least.

MID YEAR UPDATE QUARTERLY LIST UPDATE ~ BLOG 365.181

It’s MID-YEAR update time. Can you believe we’re half way through the year already? This year seems to be pedaling by faster and faster!

When I took one of those silly Facebook games last December it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I liked PROGRESS better. So decided both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS were better! Then I saw a meme that spoke to me and decided to add BALANCE! I truly believe all three words work hand in hand to make life easier and happier.

Update to MY list for 2023 is:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. 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 TO DATE
  • I have also decided the join Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023!  Sometimes the post might be a full one but other times it might simply be a picture. I may not always get the logo in, but I will get the post done! DONE TO DATE except 5 back posts I’m working on to get up to date.
  • Do a devotional every day. I seriously need to get better in this category. When time falls short and there is so much to do, personal time AND pampering time always take a back seat 🙁
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime. DONE TO DATE (pretty well)
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. This year is starting off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m hoping to get to them soon.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. Pretty good, but could still be better!
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! I can’t seem to find the time to do these, but will keep working on it.
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. DONE TO DATE and the garage sale was a GREAT success despite the weather (sun, rain, wind, snow and that was just the first hour). The BIG & HEAVY items are sold and gone which was the most important thing to me. As we continue to go antiquing I have added more questions to my thought process about whether I really need and/or will use something before I buy it. I have a couple boxes of old toys that I’m meeting with my antiques guy to sell.
  • 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These have been in the works for awhile, but I’m going to get them done this year.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month. NOT so good this year as it has been filled with working on the estate sales with a friend as well as our own garage sale through the horribly long and cold/wet winter. The remainder of our garage sale items were donated to the Eagles for their yard sale (enough to cover my good deed category).
  • 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 🙁 A friend loaned me her mom and grandma’s recipe boxes which was fun for some new recipes. It also helped with the “clutter” since I only photoed those recipes I REALLY wanted to make – so I only “rented” them.
  • Volunteer at least once a month for a community project. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I SERIOUSLY accomplish regularly and enough for the both of us. 😀
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. In February we were going to take a Valentine’s couples painting class that didn’t happen but in March we went for a special romantic dinner to TRUE KITCHEN for hubby’s birthday and it was fantastic. In January we were going to go to the beach antique shopping and a special dinner out at Waterfront Depot, an old train depot on the bay, but weather has been so bad and medical appointments didn’t line up so we will postpone this until later this year. In April we finally made it to the coast and did some antiquing also. Tomorrow night we going to dinner and see a local oldies band.
  • 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 in 2022 and so far through 2023 and will finish through next winter.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. Good so far.
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house.
  • Read 36 books. Hoping for double this year over last year! 36 was a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 which makes me REALLY happy!  Here’s a list of the books I have in queue – a baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change their number to red. 1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean 2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May 3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee 4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor 5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman 6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James 7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent 8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen 9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford 10) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff 11) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee 12) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage 13) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby 14) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 15) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force. 16) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force 17) Summer Magic #1 The Thorne Witches by T.M. Crom 18) Clue Crewe by Jana De Leon 19) Cauldron’s Call by Kristen Proby 20) Find Her by Chris Patchell 21) The Sunrise Cove Inn (Vineyard series #1) by Katie Winters 22) Firefly Nights (Vineyard series #2) by Kate Winters 23) On The Market (Texas BBQ Brothers #1) by Audrey Wick 24) We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker 25) A New Choice (The new Beginnings Series #1) by Michelle MacQueen 26) The Copperfield House (A Nantucket Sunset series #1) by Katie Winters 27) Firefly Nights, #2 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 28) August Sunsets, #3 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 29) Under the Maui Sky #1 Maui Island by Kellie Coates Gilbert 30) Fortune Teller #25 Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon 31) State of Denial #5 First Family series by Marie Force 32) The Heart Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 33) The Menu Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 34) The Christmas Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark 35) Justice, A Rocky Mountain Thriller by Ann Voss Peterson 36) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn 37) Girl One Murder ~ FBI Suspense Thriller #1 by Maya Gray 38) Lost & Found ~ A Clean Small Town Romance #1 by Lucinda Race 39) A Vineyard Thanksgiving #4 Vineyard series by Katie Winters 40) A Vineyard White Christmas #5 by Kate Winters 41) A Vineyard Vow #6 by Katie Winters 42) A Vineyard Lullaby #7 by Katie Winters
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here. I’ll work on a spring list if it ever happens 😀 – never got around to the spring list and it turned into the summer list which is primarily figuring out and solving the irrigation and water u=issues around here.
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year.
  • 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 and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year into the next also.

SCALING DOWN ~ Things Your Kitchen Doesn’t Really Need that made others a small fortune and in the End didn’t Really Save you any time, but gave you headaches! ~ BLOG 365.118

Scaling Down ~ Things Your Kitchen Doesn’t Really Need that made others a small fortune and in the END didn’t Really Save you ANY time, but gave you headaches!

Our recent garage sale was a complete kitchen clean out! Generally, I only have cooking tools and serving items that I truly love AND use, but over the years I had accumulated SOOOOOOOO many things! Whether they were gifts, impulse purchases or oh so many duplicates that gave me optional colors for food photography and they no longer matter to me.

I NEEDED to streamline my choices and options. Eventually, I got tired of all the “STUFF” and have dwindled down to just my favorites and easily reached items. You know the “go to” pieces because you love the feel or look of them.

One of the things I kept hearing about our garage sale items was that people couldn’t believe how nice they were. My first rule of thumb is I don’t purchase low quality, inexpensive kitchen tools. EVER! When I purchase things for the kitchen I buy high grade and useful items, intending to keep them for life! I grew up being taught quality that lasts forever is best.

Our Eagles Lodge is benefitting from all the leftovers from our sale by replacing worn out items in their kitchen or bar area and the overflow being donated to their upcoming yard sale.

I’ve read SEVERAL articles lately and they ALL made me realize that ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Too many choices is actually NOT a good thing.

I LOVE a clear and easily maneuverable work space. In order to do that, MANY things just had to go. Once I started on the work space I moved on to the drawers and cabinets and pantry. Before I knew it, we had the makings of a phenomenal quality garage sale and a MUCH, MUCH happier me.

Cabinets are another sore point for me! If I can’t reach it, I don’t need it in my opinion. Also, if I have to empty the cabinet to get to darkest depths of that long ignored space to reach the item I’m looking for, I DON’T need it! And drawers FULL of “gadgets” are sooooooooo frustrating!

I’d love to say I came up with the ultimate “KEY” to what you need in your kitchen, but the truth is, what YOU need in your kitchen is up to you. BUT, I’m willing to bet you have MANY things you don’t need.

No matter your cooking skill level there are a few things that every home chef needs. Personally, I recommend buying QUALITY over QUANTITY. Quality will give you the lifetime use and in the end save you money in the long run. Some of the items I personally recommend are:

  • 2-3 Stainless Steel baking sheets
  • 1 Heavy Duty Cast Iron Skillet
  • 1 Large Heavy Duty enameled cast iron sauce pan with lid
  • 1 enameled covered cast iron dutch oven with Lid
  • 1-2 9×9 Baking Dishes (I like Staub or Le Crueset)
  • 1 6×9 QUALITY baking dish
  • 1-2 9×13 cake pan/ baking dish
  • 4 QUALITY ramekins
  • 1 NESTED set of QUALITY Mixing Bowls
  • 1 NESTED set of QUALITY spring form pans
  • A QUALITY knife set
  • QUALITY kitchen shears
  • A QUALITY cutting board set
  • A QUALITY set of stainless steel pots and pans (Personally I avoid non-stick ALWAYS)
  • 1 set (1/8th cup – 1 cup) of stainless steel measuring cups for dry measure
  • 1 set (1 cup, 2 cups and 4 cups) of glass measuring cups for liquid measure
  • 2-3 sets stainless measuring spoons – I say multiple sets because I use a clean one for each ingredient
  • Service for 8+ QUALITY tableware
  • Service for 8+ QUALITY cutlery with matching serve ware
  • Silicone heat resistant spatulas

Everything else is up for debate based on YOUR needs and likes. BUT, to TRULY de-clutter you are going to HAVE to let go of a few (MANY) things. For us, many of these things were easier to get rid of as I started scaling recipes down for just the 2 of us and am not having as many of the hosting duties for large crowds.

I give you ranges because maybe you prefer baking to cooking, etc… I ALSO avoid ALL the specialty pans that take up precious cabinet space! Things like mini doughnut pans, mini brownie pans, mini cheesecake pans, etc… UNLESS you make those items regularly. Many of the really cutesy bundt cake pans are also a thing I now avoid. They are sometimes a pain to clean and require a separate cleaning tool that only clogs up drawer space.

Many of the items I ended up selling were “guilt” type items – gifts or hand me downs from loved ones that know how much I LOVE to cook and… well, you know that story. You don’t want to hurt their feelings so that item gets pulled out whenever they are going to be around.

Many of these items are things like gift coffee mugs, travel mugs that don’t fit your cupholder, the “MUST HAVE” seen on TV gadgets that are only good for one type of task, 2 old plates from Aunt Susie that are not valuable, but WERE sentimental to your mother so you keep them, small appliances you never use like specialty peelers/spiralizers, margarita machine from your college days, hot dog cookers, pasta makers from that long ago class you took but then decided it was easier to buy the pasta… this also includes cook books, souvenir cups and party supplies. The true question is are you going to use it anytime soon and if not, why are you keeping it?

So the next question is do you sell, donate or toss the items? Anything that has only been rarely or gently used is good for donation as are multiples and duplicates. ANYTHING that is worn, has burnt or rough edges should be tossed. Tossed items should also include worn out dishtowels and hot pads with burnt edges, old take out menus, old condiment packets from take out food, ANYTHING chipped or stained beyond use and ANYTHING well passed it’s use by date like 20 year old spices.

My GO TO donation sites are Salvation Army, Habitat Restore and St. Vincents in that order. Now that Goodwill is “FOR PROFIT” and not a TRUE donation company I avoid them. Most of them will also accept working small appliances like waffle irons, mixers etc… BUT, make sure they are in GOOD AND CLEAN as well as in WORKING order.

If you are having trouble doing this task, ask a close friend (one that will be brutally honest with you) to help. Add a glass of wine, maybe a charcuterie board to snack on while you work and some music to turn it into a fun event. You will be surprised how quickly you clear out a TON of space and how GOOD you will feel when it’s done!

SPRING QUARTERLY LIST for 2023 ~BLOG 365.80

When I took one of those silly Facebook games last December it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I liked PROGRESS better. So decided both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS were better! Then I saw a meme that spoke to me and decided to add BALANCE! I truly believe all three words work hand in hand to make life easier and happier.

Update to MY list for 2023 is:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. 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.
  • I have also decided the join Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023!  Sometimes the post might be a full one but other times it might simply be a picture. I may not always get the logo in, but I will get the post done!
  • Do a devotional every day.
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime.
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. This year is starting off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m hoping to get to them soon.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both!
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. This is a serious work in progress that has taken ALL 2022, BUT IS GOING REALLY WELL and will be done by the end of March when we are planning a HUGE garage sale weather pending.
  • 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These have been in the works for awhile, but I’m going to get them done this year.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month.
  • 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. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I accomplish regularly.
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. In February we were going to take a Valentine’s couples painting class that didn’t happen but in March we went for a special romantic dinner to TRUE KITCHEN for hubby’s birthday and it was fantastic. In January we were going to go to the beach antique shopping and a special dinner out at Waterfront Depot, an old train depot on the bay, but weather has been so bad and medical appointments didn’t line up so we will postpone this until later this year.
  • 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 in 2022 and will finish through the winter and spring.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. Good so far.
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house.
  • Read 36 books. Hoping for double this year over last year! 36 was a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 which makes me REALLY happy!  Here’s a list of the books I have in queue – a baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change their number to red. 1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean 2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May 3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee 4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor 5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman 6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James 7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent 8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen 9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford 10) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff 11) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee 12) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage 13) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby 14) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 15) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force. 16) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force 17) Summer Magic #1 The Thorne Witches by T.M. Crom 18) Clue Crewe by Jana De Leon 19) Cauldron’s Call by Kristen Proby
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here. I’ll work on a spring list if it ever happens 😀

  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year.
  • 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 and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year.

What you May NOT know about ME ~BLOG 365.45

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you’re doing something fun today! We don’t really go out and do the crowds, not even before COVID, but will go to a favorite local haunt for lunch where she makes incredible roast chicken on Tuesdays or maybe for tacos since it’s also Taco Tuesday 😀 I’ll leave you with a little funny before I head into today’s topic.

Recently, Jean over at Chit Chat with Jean played along with Billie Jo over at Afternoon Coffee And Evening Tea and declared it Get To Know Your Blog Friends Week and then challenged us to do the same. She shared a few things most people probably didn’t know about her. I also remembered having done a similar post when I began blogging all those years ago so went in search of that post to see how things may have changed, which was easier said than done with merging blogs.

I found a couple of older posts, 6 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME and TAG YOU’RE IT and another TAG YOU’RE IT and at that time I actually quit looking because I realized that back then there were fewer of us blogging and memes were just getting reworded 😀 So it’s time to do this head on. Ironically most of the blogs I interacted with back then no longer exist.

Many things I wrote about back then still apply, but they are no longer “little known” about me. I was tagged by Barbara at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers to share a bit about myself. Her meme was in a question form which seems like a fun way to draw your mind from blank to being flooded with thoughts. I kept a couple of those questions to start today’s post with.

What was I doing 10 years ago?

  • My answer then in 2009 was: I was living in Northridge, California and was STILL in a major rebuild process from the 1994 earthquake. Between finishing college in 1995 and dealing with insurance it took awhile to get to the rebuilding which took many years and was completed in 1999. Boy am I glad all of that is in my past.
  • My answer now for 2023: I was splitting my time between Oregon and California helping my mom paint both houses and do some updates and repairs. It was also the year I had my second stomach surgery so there was some recuperation time with lots of pool time in the sun in between.

Snacks I enjoy? Ironically this category hasn’t changed all that much 😀
Apples, though now I prefer pears when I can get good ones.
Bananas – always a favorite
Popcorn – still love it, though it doesn’t agree with my stomach as much anymore.
String Cheese – always a snack favorite
Wheat Thins – I no longer eat many of these 🙁

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire?

  • Pay off all my debt!
  • Buy my brother a house as well as our son and his wife.
  • Set up college plans for each of my nieces and nephews.
  • Build a house on a lake in the Pacific Northwest to be nearer family – this is the only one that’s changed. After being here and trying to deal with the healthcare we no longer want to be here and have decided to move back to Texas.
  • Buy a long arm quilter.
  • Set up a scholarship fund for needy girls.
  • Build a ranch for abused women and their children.
  • Make cuddly quilts for sick children’s beds.

Places I have lived – I LOVE to travel domestically because flying makes me sick usually so we road trip.

  • U.P., Michigan
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Oregon
  • Northridge and others, California
Another post tagged me by Susan at Art Angelix where I was supposed to tell you 3 known facts and 3 unknown facts about myself. The obvious ones were:
  1. I like to cook
  2. I like to blog
  3. I like to quilt

And the lesser or unknown facts were considerably harder to come up with back then though many of you know these things about me now:

  1. I’m a night owl and an early bird which makes for poor sleeping habits. I think I’m just afraid to miss anything so I stay up late to get my lists accomplished and get up early to get a good start on them.
  2. I’m an avid reader and usually have 2 or 3 books going at the same time and at any given point in time.
  3. I’m a list maker! I can’t stand to miss anything so I write lists for everything!

So, for today’s post, I’m taking her idea and sharing a few more random things about myself.

  • I LOVE word games and play WORDLE with my brother and another friend long distance every day as well as having multiple WORDS with FRIENDS games going every day.
  • My favorite color is purple though I tend to gravitate to blues and grays more often than not.
  • I’m a college graduate with a B.S. in Health Education and a minor in Women’s Studies. I was supposed to be a patient advocate and teacher though my health at the time led to my being immunocompromised with primarily respiratory infections and the doctors advised me against both career choices to avoid germs that were constantly keeping me sick.
  • I 100% agree with Jean that white chocolate is an abomination and that it’s not even real chocolate! She found proof too! proof that white chocolate is fake. I’m still a kid at heart and LOVE milk chocolate though I can’t have much anymore.
  • Diet Coke used to ALSO be my go to drink until my SLE diagnosis in the mid 90’s. I won’t touch anything diet or even regular soda now.

Now that you know more than you wanted to know about me, what don’t I know about you?

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023 ~ YEARLY LIST ~ The word is RESILIENT PROGRESS! ~ BLOG 365.1

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Last year I joined up with Jean over at Chit Chat with Jean to do a year long accomplishment list for 2022 and a word for the year. I wondered if I would be successful? I’m impressed that I did REALLY well and I’m looking forward to doing this all over again in 2023. I fell back FINALLY into my more organized ways. The minimalizing lifestyle helped tremendously!!
I recently took one of those silly Facebook games and it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I like PROGRESS better. Or better yet, both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS! Then I saw this meme and decided to add BALANCE! I truly believe all three words work hand in hand to make life easier and happier.

My list for 2023 is:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. 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. I have also decided the join Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023!  Sometimes the post might be a full one but other times it might simply be a picture.I may not always get the logo in, but I will get the post done!
  • Do a devotional every day.
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime.
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. This year is starting off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m hoping to get to them soon.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both!
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. This is a serious work in progress that has taken ALL 2022, BUT IS GOING REALLY WELL and will be done by 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month.
  • 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. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I accomplish regularly.
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before.
  • 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 in 2022 and will finish through the winter and spring.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily.
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house.
  • Read 36 books. Hoping for double this year over last year! 36 was a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 which makes me REALLY happy!  Here’s a list of the books I have in queue – a baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change their number to red. 1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean 2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May 3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee 4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor 5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman 6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James 7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent 8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen 9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford 10) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff 11) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee 12) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage 13) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby 14) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham 15) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force. 16) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here.

  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year.
  • 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 and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year.

2022 IN REVIEW as 2023 LOOMS AHEAD

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 year in review. I wondered if I would be successful? I’m impressed that I did REALLY well. I’m also looking forward to doing this all again in 2023. I fell back FINALLY 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 and 2 Christmas quilt wall hangings (tree and Santa) done, but need binding, 3 Snowman lap quilt, and 4 and 5 batik table runners in opposing colors are done and a batik table runner.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! These are going to continue to be a work in progress.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. This is AND ALWAYS WILL BE 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 has taken ALL year and isn’t done yet, BUT IS GOING REALLY WELL and will 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, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. Yet to do 😀 but this WILL get done in January.
  • 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 🙁
  • 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 I have gotten quite involved at the Eagles post doing various projects. I cooked dinner several times in 2022, helped with the Christmas parade float, food and presents for needy families, cleaned up a WAY OVERGROWN yard of an elderly friend in AUGUST as well as some grocery runs and various other projects.
  • 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 a few times so far this past year, but three of those were 3 day trips so that counts extra right 😀 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) Afternoon paint class then dinner out at a favorite little rooftop bistro we like 😀 7) Trip to Silver Falls to go hiking and exploring and RELAXING 😀 8) Trip to Coos Bay for Shore Acres Light Show where we stayed at a cute little house on Oyster Cove
  • 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
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress that WILL take ALL year into next year.
  • 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 take ALL year into next year.
  • Read 36 books. Was hoping for double, but this was a realistic goal and now looks like I actually reached 59 which makes me REALLY happy! The books in blue are works in progress and will be moved to the 2023 list to begin the year. 1) 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 64) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff 65) Beyond the Moonlit Sea by Julianne Maclean 66) Someone to Hold – Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force 67) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee 68) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage 69) Adrift Book #2 in Tempest Island by Jana DeLeon 70) Hallows End by Kristen Proby 71) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby 72) Eight Maids a Missing by Jana DeLeon
  • I’ve added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here.

FALL UPDATE and WINTER 2022 TO DO LIST

I’d been doing a quarterly update of the MAIN list I made last January to participate with Jean and I’d never thought about making one that was seasonally specific to holiday menus and events, but I really like the idea that Jean got from her friend, Rebecca at Rebecca’s Hearth and Home. So I started with a Fall 2022 list. Here’s that update with a follow up of a Winter 2022 list. I’ll still do a BIG MAIN list again for 2023, but also include the seasonal ones as we move through the year.

FALL LIST

  • Plant the mums that my friend gave me for my birthday and clean out whiskey barrel planters in prep for winter. DONE and the mums are looking really colorful. They LOVE their new home.
  • Prep outside patio furniture and BBQ for winter months. DONE and no maintenance until the spring power washing is a real plus!
  • Deep clean oven and refrigerators. DONE but of course this is an EVERY season thing! I’ve been using the indoor NINJA grill so that has helped tremendously.
  • Fall trip to coast with hubby for my birthday. We had a WONDERFUL time! We went to the Oregon coast for 4 days. Our room had a balcony and was seaside with a great view for sunsets. Lounging around was perfect on a rainy day and when the weather was good we combed the beach and antiqued looking for winter projects is what I wanted to say, but REALITY was an early October trip to a small town that hosts a Christmas light/German market to plan a Christmas trip… but, that was also canceled and we’ve been looking for a new option.
  • Go to the Harvest Festival at the fairgrounds. DONE and I had a GREAT time. Most of my Christmas shopping was accomplished here.
  • Go to the Christmas Craft Fair at the fairgrounds. DONE and I had a GREAT time.
  • Deep clean bird bath and hummingbird feeders. DONE! Hummingbirds are year round here so this is also an EVERY season thing around here.
  • Sort through ALL clothes and donate EVERYTHING that doesn’t fit or I just don’t care for anymore.WHEW this was larger category than I thought, but I am almost done.
  • Finish cleaning out pantry, freezer and seasonings to start fresh in the new year. DONE
  • Clean out and cover garden beds as soon as zucchini and tomato plants are done – probably in about 2 weeks. DONE
  • Bake something once a week from my new cookbook. MOSTLY DONE I did miss a couple weeks, but have been working my way through the tagged and starred recipes.
  • Try a new and challenging cooking or baking technique every week. EVERY week might be too much as there really are very few things I haven’t tried to do, so I’ll change this to once a month 😀
  • Start indoor herb garden so I have them for the winter. DONE
  • Learn YOGA. I’m just not sure I have the patience for this as my list is always so long to get done, but I’m trying.
  • Take ALL Sundays completely off to watch football, NASCAR, snuggle up and read or WHATEVER I want for that 1 day a week.

Did you accomplish what you wanted to for the FALL? Now it’s time to move onto winter. 😀

WINTER 2022/2023 TO DO LIST – a much shorter list than the other seasons because of the holidays 😀

  • Prep the “neighbor plates” for Christmas. This year I’m making candied Jalapenos, Snickers Brownies, the normal sugar cookies and candies. Many of my neighbors are elderly and two different ones that we’re fairly close to have both had COVID recently and one had shingles at the same time! I also made them each BIG pots of soup and bread so they didn’t need to cook.
  • Continue to bake something once a week from my new cookbook.
  • Finish sorting, condensing and prepping for the spring garage sale. This category is going REALLY well and I can’t wait to finish.
  • Take ALL Sundays completely off per hubby’s rul snuggle up and read or WHATEVER I want for that 1 day a week.

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.