HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & MENU PLANS week 8 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.50

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

The weather this week is supposed to be all over the place – anywhere from the high 30’s to the high 50’s during the day and in the 30’s at night with primarily gray, cloudy, foggy and rainy off and on ALL week. Hoodies and Levis are the uniform of the week 😀

I’m trying to get better organized! Things are still a bit jumbled and chaotic with so many repairs and issues going on. It has truly been Murphy’s Law around here. Hubby replaced the parts for the kitchen sink drain and all is well on that front again, but we have black ants now (the kind that are looking for warmth or water) that are a pain in the winter. They hang out in outlets and shower drains and such. We’re having issues with rim leaks on a specific tire that is the issue of the day, for multiple days now. If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

The roofers came last week and said they fixed the leak (AGAIN) in the relatively new roof. Unfortunately, they didn’t 🙁 but fortunately the new project manager is a good and reasonable guy. He brought a small crew over last Saturday and took up the less than 2 year old section and changed all the flashing and laid new roof. They checked inside and out, but I’m leaving the bucket in place for a week or so just to be sure since they claimed to have fixed it many times before. There is still a lot of back and forth with my uncle’s passing. He lived in Texas, my cousin lives in Kansas and I’m in the Pacific North West. We have been having multiple conversations for weeks about everything and taking care of things from a far. It is all still a work in process, but obviously weighing heavy on my mind as we prepare for all this entails.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING Laundry is up to date and ironing is on today’s to do list!
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have a haircut on Wednesday, but not much more this week on this front.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Tomorrow will be the day for phone calls and they are the kind that will require A LOT of time on hold unfortunately.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m hoping for a weather change to update the menu soon, but for now will be focusing on soups, chilis an stews for March.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • AMAZON PRIME We’re almost done binge re-watching GRIMM.
  • PARAMOUNT+ We’re almost done with re-watching CHEERS at night.
  • CABLE We need to get caught up on the DVR now that the new season has begun.

I’ve been so busy lately that I fall asleep quickly and have gotten very little reading done! I’m hoping to finish Canary Girls this week. It’s a very good book and I’m leaning so much!! I’m really sad it’s taking me so long to read.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
 HAM & POTATO SOUP
 HOT CHICKEN SALAD
 CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
OUT with a CLOSE FRIEND for hubby’s upcoming BIG birthday
 BURGERS
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT
 
 
 

This is Miss Maya, a sweet little cat at a recent job we were working on. This has been such a wet winter that the moldy moss and grass growth is REALLY bad this year! I took these pictures downtown near a business we frequent. BUT, there is hope! These daffodils made a brief appearance on a sunny day.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & MENU PLANS week 7 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.43

CONGRATULATIONS to the Super Bowl Champs and Jean as well as the rest the faithful Chief fans – it was a heck of a game! Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Today and tomorrow are supposed to at least be clear though cold and then the rain begins again in time for Valentine’s Day. As usual I’m wearing Levis, a mock turtleneck and a flannel with my favorite UGGs to stay warm. Temperatures will be in the high 40’s to low 50’s with night time lows in the 30’s this week.

I’m sorry I haven’t gotten as much visiting to blogs as I’d like, but hope to rectify that this week. It’s been a traumatic week or couple of months. My uncle who is also my godfather has been sick for awhile (a couple of years, but in and out of the hospital since November 9th) and passed last week on the 6th. He lives in Texas, my cousin lives in Kansas and I’m in the Pacific North West. We have been having multiple conversations for weeks about everything and taking care of things from a far. It is all still a work in process, but obviously weighing heavy on my mind as we prepare for all this entails.

Last week we kept waking up to odd puddles of water on the kitchen floor… they didn’t appear to be coming from the ceiling, but they also were in the middle of the room and not near a water source (evidently there is a slight slope to the floor)…long story short it turns out the 5 year in-line water filter behind the refrigerator developed a tiny pinhole leak (at 2 years 11 months and 3 weeks) and was spraying out water that took most of the day and night to recreate itself with gravity and then the roofer was here Saturday and I think (fingers crossed) that they have FINALLY solved the leak in the laundry room! Fortunately, it has all been warranty work on the new roof so no money spent! just after he left though the kitchen sink decided we needed something more to do 😀 and that’s still a work in progress isolating the problem – seems to have something to do with the original installation and when the dishwasher drains…

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING We’ve been gone a lot so I need to get caught up on A LOT of things! The laundry is caught up, but I still have a pile of mending and ironing to do.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have an Endocrinologist appointment on Wednesday and a pedicure appointment of Friday when I’ll pick up a few groceries for dinner with neighbors on Friday night.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS getting caught up on several things and planning an upcoming trip.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING just this week is done for now.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • AMAZON PRIME We’ve been watching GRIMM while waiting for the shows to return. Have really been too busy to watch much else.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

2/12 MONDAY
2/13 TUESDAY
2/14 WEDNESDAY
2/15 THURSDAY
2/16 FRIDAY
2/17 SATURDAY
2/18 SUNDAY
DINNER
 C.O.R.N.
 Filling in as the chef at the Eagles – so dinner is chef’s choice
 WHISKEY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN with BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES
HOT CHICKEN SALAD
CHILE LIME SALMON, ROASTED BABY POTATOES & ASPARAGUS
TOMATILLO CHICKEN with CILANTRO RICE
SPAGHETTI & MEATBALL SOUP
DESSERT
 
 
OATMEAL CREAM PIES

It was a SUPER BUSY weekend with multiple events, but a friend snapped this fun picture for me. And yes I’m wearing cat ears 🙂 they were a gift from the band that night.

Our crazy bartenders were at it again too!

And WOW are my Christmas Cacti (I have 6 of them) going nuts still!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & MENUS ~ week 6 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.36

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

I guess there is a reason they call it “predictions” when it comes to the weather. The snow never made an appearance, but the rain, cold and wind did! I have had to continually break my rule of not leaving the house before it’s 40 degrees. If I didn’t I’d be like a bear and hibernating all winter! Well, guess what this next week is supposed to be the same – lows in the 30’s and maybe highs in the forties with lots of wet stuff. So, Levis and layers of warmth with my favorite UGGs.

When I worked full time it was a 60 hour week between the actual work and the commute time. Lately I feel like I’m working more with my volunteer hours than I did when I actually worked! I’m thinking I need to be streamlining some of what I do and trying to decide exactly what needs to be adjusted.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’m taking today to regroup and get caught up on cleaning and ironing in particular.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Wednesday will be the BIG shopping day for the events at the Eagles next weekend. I’m doing the charity dinner for the Eagles on Friday night and co-chairing the Valentine event for Saturday night and handling the dessert table and then to top it off we’re doing the Super Bowl party on Sunday – so that’s A LOT of food to buy.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I have a few things to catch up on over the next week or so… we are NOT working on the estate house this week, but hit the ground running for a BIG finish over President’s day weekend.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING the week is planned, but that’s about it. I’m hoping after next weekend’s events I’ll have more time.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • We’ve been watching GRIMM of an evening followed by CHEERS before going to sleep. I’m also staying on top of the Kid’s Baking Championship and looking forward to some regular shows beginning again soon.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

2/5 MONDAY
2/6 TUESDAY
2/7 WEDNESDAY
2/8 THURSDAY
2/9 FRIDAY
2/10 SATURDAY
2/11 SUNDAY
DINNER
 CHICKEN FLORENTINE and ARANCINI
HOT CHICKEN SALAD
 WHISKEY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN & BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES
 TOMATILLO CHICKEN
BBQ CHICKEN, CREAMY MAC & CHEESE, 3 BEAN SALAD cooking at the Eagles
 GRILLED RIB EYE and CHEESY TOMATO BASIL ORZO
SPAGHETTI & MEATBALL SOUP
DESSERT
 
CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES
CHERRY PUDDING BUNDT CAKE
OATMEAL CREAM PIES

I’m getting another round of blooms on my Christmas Cactus. This time I have MANY MULTIPLE double blooms!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & MENU PLANS with RECIPE LINKS week 5 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.29

Oh my, can you believe we are already at the end of January? I find it mind boggling! Seems like we were just preparing for Christmas and now we’re about to start February.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

We are certainly having a cold and wet winter here in the Pacific North West. This is one of those winters where it doesn’t really matter where you are in the country, there’s something rearing its ugly head! Everyone stay dry and warm wherever you are. As for us, out temperatures are heading back down and the snow predictions are back in the mix for later this week. Right now I’d take the snow over the rain as we have the same roof leak this year on the new (only a couple years old) roof that appears to be coming from a flashing problem and comes down via the exhaust fan in the laundry room. I change the towel on the floor daily so it’s manageable which is the good news. The bad news is that the roofer can’t seem to get to us as everyone else is having worse problems – you can just tell when you talk to him that staying friendly will move you up the list faster than angry – oh the woes of warranty work.

Like the rest of the country we have a bit of a warming trend through today here, but then we drop back down into the 30’s and 40’s with that threat of snow for the weekend. I’m working at the Pond house this week several days, today being one of them and it’s still a bit of a grungy clean out so I have on OLD Levis, my least favorite hoodie and my oldest UGGs.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’m still in the midst of a deep sort and clean. These estate sales really drive me to get better organized. I also always find things I want, but my new rule is that for everything I get, I get rid of two things I already have. I also have a pile of mending and ironing to do.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have to do some grocery shopping for an elderly friend today and then I have a pedicure tomorrow when I’ll do my own grocery shopping. Hubby and I will be taking off Thursday to go check out a new (to us) salvage house and have a late lunch/dinner at the OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY on Thursday which is the anniversary of my cancer surgery and ultimately remission date.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I’m still working at cleaning up my desk area, which of course is a never ending battle 😀
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I FINALLY made it ALL the way through my pile of scraps of paper notes and magazine cut out recipes, tossing many of them, and am in the process of organizing them. TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Last night at dinner my girlfriend brought me some cookbooks from her mom – like I said, it’s a never ending battle 😀

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • I’ve been so busy that TV has been almost non-existent around here except for some late night sit-coms and Kid’s Baking Championship. Some of the network shows are starting back and we need to check out the DVR. We started re-watching GRIMM on Saturday night. And of course football yesterday! Congratulations Jean to the Chiefs win! Personally, I was rooting for the Lions to up against them, but maybe next year. 😀

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

1/29 MONDAY
1/30 TUESDAY
1/31 WEDNESDAY
2/1 THURSDAY
2/2 FRIDAY
2/3 SATURDAY
2/4 SUNDAY
DINNER
 CIDER BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS & ROOT VEGGIES
 HOT CHICKEN SALAD
 WHISKEY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN with BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES
 OUT at OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY
 LEMON GLAZED MEATBALLS with CREAMY MAC & CHEESE
 SPAGHETTI & MEATBALL SOUP with PARMESAN PAN ROLLS
TOMATILLO CHICKEN with CILANTRO CHILE RICE
DESSERT
 
 PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
 

This has been a VERY wet winter. This normally docile river can’t even be seen under this bridge and is barely flowing, but right now it’s a raging river and has turned VERY brown from all the mud being washed into it.

We have a fun local chain in the Pacific Northwest of restaurants that we seek out as we travel. They are called McMenamins. Each location has some historic value like having been an old train station or an Elk’s temple or Catholic school or a family farm or roadside inn… Many have lodging, breweries and their own distilleries. They remodel them and their themes are ALWAYS quite unique and eclectic, but specific to each location staying true to its origins. These pictures are of some finials on an inside fence at our local “train station”. The ceiling is also full of unique and mismatched chandeliers.

 

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY & MENU PLANS with RECIPE LINKS week 4 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.22

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

What can I say, it’s wet here and cold! Then again it is January in the Pacific Northwest during an El Nino year. As usual I’m wearing multiple layers and warm UGGS. I’m working at the “estate” house today so am wearing an extra layer and already looking forward to tomorrow when I can stay home in my yoga pants where it’s warm.

I’ve been really tired lately, but think it’s just because I got too cold while working and then couldn’t seem to warm up. I’m a little out of sorts trying to stay focused, but think that also has to do with the horribly cold, wet winter we’re having. I usually LOVE winter, but this year NOT so much! I think I’m in a rut 🙂 This too shall pass.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’ll be doing some deep cleaning tomorrow. I’ve been inspired by the current “estate” house which has turned into more of a “clean out/dump runs/garage sale”. When we first toured the estate sale there were many things that were going to make it worth our while, but the family ended up “keeping” those things and the things they left behind are in disrepair or damaged beyond their antique worth. Anyway, as we are cleaning up and sorting through everything it has inspired me to clean out my own spaces.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I’m working at the estate house today, working here tomorrow and will do some groceries on Wednesday when I do the Costco shopping for the Eagles.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I’ve been cleaning out files and cubbies and getting caught up on paperwork.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I even cleaned up my recipe stash and planned at least this week.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • Still waiting on the “regular” shows to restart, but did watch playoff football (SORRY about the Packers loss Carrie, but CONGRATULATIONS Jean on the Chiefs win), some old Bob Newhart (#2) shows and a weird show on Peacock called The Woman in the Wall and as always the Kid’s Baking Championship

I’m hoping to finish Canary girls tonight, but haven’t figured out what to read next.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY 1/22
TUESDAY 1/23
WEDNESDAY 1/24
THURSDAY 1/25
FRIDAY 1/26
SATURDAY 1/27
SUNDAY 1/28
DINNER
CIDER BRAISED CHICKEN & ROOT VEGETABLES
 HOT CHICKEN SALAD
 WHISKEY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN & BUTTERMILK MASHED POTATOES
 LEMON GLAZED MEATBALLS & CHEESY TOMATO BASIL ORZO
 BURRITO BOWLS
 SPAGHETTI & MEATBALL SOUP
TOMATILLO CHICKEN
DESSERT
 
 PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
 

My Christmas cacti are still blooming and loving their spot in the east facing window.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY with MENUS & RECIPE LINKS week 3 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.15

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

We are SOOOOOO WET! This past weekend especially it seriously rained. It rained so much I swear I saw Noah float by on an ark. In all seriousness there is major ice, cold, flooding… businesses north of us closed early due to power outages… airport closed… and then Saturday night it hit us with a power outage that left us thinking about taking a trip. After SNOWMAGGEDON a few years ago we vowed we’d take a small trip if it happened again and as the temperature was dropping we sat in the dark contemplating just that for about 3 hours when it came back on. It was nice to snuggle in and just read, but it really threw off my timeline for things I was trying to accomplish for the new project.

I mean this is the Pacific North West and we’re used to rain and wet, but I’m seeing standing water with ducks paddling in it where there used to be a road. Our local pond “normally” has a path all the way around, but when I left the estate house (which looks down on the whole pond) last night I noticed that the back end is completely under water.

Today is supposed to be cloudy and then back to the rain tomorrow and Wednesday and for the rest of the week. I’ll be working on a new estate sale a good part of this week, but all the work is NOT indoors so it may get a bit dicey at times. This estate sale is more of a clean out than higher end things and antiques that we are used to, so may use today to start making outdoor trash piles…so grungy clothes it is today.

There are a few things on my mind that I’m working through, but it’s just day to day things. I’m feeling well other than a few aches and pains, but am still avoiding people like the plague as COVID works its way through our community once again. 🙁

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I have 2 loads of laundry to do and am hoping to finish clearing the house of the Christmas totes with a break in the rain today.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I have to do the shopping for one of the auxiliary women’s dinner on Friday so will do our errands at that time on Tuesday. Unfortunately it is supposed to be raining 🙁
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I have several this I want to accomplish this week.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m a bit uninspired right now with all that’s going on, but just like Stella, I WILL get my groove back. 🙂

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • The DVR is pretty empty while we wait for the “new” season to finally begin. As always I catch the Kid’s Baking Championship and a few other cooking shows. We did watch a couple of good movies on Prime though. Champions with Woody Harrelson and Cheech Marin was really cute and we finally saw the Peanut Butter Falcon.

I’m working on finishing the Canary Girls, but got a bit sidetracked with the power outage. I do love historical novels – I always seem to learn something new. Do you know why they were called Canary girls? I’ll give you a clue – it has nothing to do with birds or singing.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY 1/15
TUESDAY 1/16
WEDNESDAY 1/17
THURSDAY 1/18
FRIDAY 1/19
SATURDAY 1/20
SUNDAY 1/21
DINNER
 BBQ BAKED CHICKEN & POTATO SALAD
 BROWN CRACKER MEATLOAF with MASHED POTATOES & GRAVY
 SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS
 MISO BUTTER  ROASTED CHICKEN & CARROTS
 BRIDGE CLUB CHICKEN & SALAD
 CHILE LIME SALMON & ARTICHOKES
CHICKEN FRIED STEAKS with MASHED POTATOES & GRAVY
DESSERT
 
 
DANISH APPLE SLAB PIE
 

We went to an impromptu comedy show on Friday night to support a local winery family who has been in the valley for over 100 years, but is being forced out of business due to family infighting over a recent patriarch death 🙁 so sad. We then went to a favorite local haunt for karaoke and a couple of friends (sisters who were drinking pretty good) did a duet to Dirty Laundry 😀

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY with MENU & RECIPES week 2 of 2024 BLOG 366.8

Good Morning friends. I hope this second week of 2024 finds you healthy and happy. We’re doing well, but there has been a major resurgence of COVID here in our little rural town and MANY people we know are down with it so as a precaution we have not strayed far from home this past week nor will we this week. I read that there is a new strain that is rearing it’s ugly head all over the country, so please be careful.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our hostess, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

It is still really cold here (highs in the low 40’s and lows in the 20’s), breezy and REALLY wet here with snow the last 2 nights that didn’t stick here on the valley floor, but did on the local hills so we can see it all around us. It is predicted to be in FULL swing later this week as we are on winter storm watch now. The weatherman can’t make up his mind as to when the snow will actually hit though – it keeps changing hourly so I guess we’ll have to wait and see as the storm actually hits. Honestly I’d prefer the snow to the rain most days.

I did get a new really warm and cozy hoodie that I’ve just about been living in along with comfy Levi’s and UGGs.

I have a bit of my normal winter sinus issues due to the atmospheric pressures being all over the place with these storms, but doing well otherwise. I’m thinking about how to adjust all my schedules due to COVID closures and such and still meet commitments. The only real appointment I have this week is for a haircut tomorrow and to pick up a few groceries on the way home.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’ve still been de-decorating from Christmas and packing things away. Will do a deep clean later this week since I’ll be home.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Haircut tomorrow and groceries.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Hoping to finish a few things up this week and start with a clean work area.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m supposed to cook at the Eagles several times in the near future, but right now I’m taking it a day at a time since things are so up in the air with closures.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • YAY! New shows for the season are slowly coming back. I’m enjoying the KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP and catching up on some old movies. We watched A League of Their Own last week and STRANGE WEATHER, a Holly Hunter movie which was pretty strange itself.

I finished Marie Force’s State of Bliss last weekend and finally started Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini. I also got caught up on all the stray magazines I had around, but there are a couple cookbooks to finish up.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀

MONDAY 1/8
TUESDAY 1/9
WEDNESDAY 1/10
THURSDAY 1/11
FRIDAY 1/12
SATURDAY 1/13
SUNDAY 1/14
DINNER
CASHEW CHICKEN and CHEESY LEEK GRATIN
CHICKEN CHILES RELLENOS STRATA recipe will post 1/25
 CHICKEN CORDON BLEU
 JACKFRUIT TACOS with GREEN APPLE SALSA
 BBQ CHICKEN
 GRILLED PIMIENTO CHEESE SANDWICHES with TOMATO BISQUE
MISO BUTTER ROASTED CHICKEN
DESSERT
 
CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE
 CHEESE APPLE CRISP
 

In order to take favorite photos, one must first leave the house. That hasn’t happened this week, so here’s a favorite from New Year’s Eve of my winning charcuterie board. And of my white Christmas Cactus that’s blooming up a storm.

MENU PLANNING for ALL~ BLOG 366.5

Menu Planning a balanced diet for the whole family doesn’t have to be stressful. It also doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. I’ve been doing it for years. While it started as a way to stay on budget and save time because of our busy lifestyle and work schedules, not to mention that we both worked 2 jobs and had work commutes (mine was 130 miles round trip) at the time, it became a way of life that just makes things easier!

It’s no longer about just making it through the work week for me. These days for me it is all about the artistry and adventure of making interesting and pretty meals. Hubby and friends love being my guinea pigs!

There is more to menu planning than just deciding what to make for dinner, at least for the average family. We we’re a military family used to getting paid once a month when I started and trying to make it last. So for me, menu planning also encompassed recipe scouring and coupon clipping, we loved to read the Sunday papers back then while we had our coffee.

Back then one of the things I looked for first was the coupons to see what I could save for us – hubby always laughed when I got excited at a large coupon for something already on the grocery list, then I scoured the local sale ads reading and logical common sense planning. I used to participate in Menu Plan Monday, but that became a defunct meme and I actually prepared my menu for the entire month all at once and then just break it up for posting. So while it gave me a few ideas, it wasn’t an end all for me. If you read my WHERE I LIKE TO PARTY tab at the top it shows you a few party memes that give me some ideas these days.

When I menu plan I start the last week of the previous month with checking out what I already have in the freezer inventory and then the ads for my local markets for the upcoming week. I used to see what meats would be going on sale and then scour my recipe file for recipes to match. These days because of where we live I order most of my higher end cuts of meats from Butcher Box.com.

These days I start with considering my calendar, what holidays or special events will be happening and pay more attention to the season that may need more attention for appetizing color combinations and or decorations.

My planning now a days also encompasses specific flavors combinations and food textures that will complement each other well. You don’t want to serve dishes that fight each other. Spicy or bold main dishes require a mildly seasoned vegetable side or even a delicate fruit salad. The sides and sauces even play a large part when planning your menu.

Be sure and read your recipes all the way through also. There is nothing worse than planning a menu and then realizing the meal you planned for tonight should have been marinated overnight yesterday! Having a “schedule” working backwards from the longest cooking dish for preparation and execution helps tremendously at having a successful and enjoyable meal that will be served all at the same time.

One of the biggest things I do to help not only with cost of ingredients, but also waste time and food is to make sure to back up recipes to each other that use similar ingredients that I can buy in bulk. For example if a recipe calls for half an onion for Monday night’s recipe, I make sure Tuesday night’s recipe uses the other half.

I also note which meals we’ll probably have leftovers for so I plan to either freeze part of it for a future meal or plan a C.O.R.N. (clean out refrigerator night) within my plan if there is only going to be a little of this and that leftover. Over the years I added YOYO (You’re on Your Own) for the nights we have meetings or events that pull us in two different directions.

I write my shopping list and then I match up any coupons I may have especially for staples (flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc…) that I need and then the luxuries if there is room within the budget. If there is a really good sale I buy in super bulk for the following month also. Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process takes less than an hour and then it’s done for the month.

I have every scrap of a recipe I ever saved as well as many of my grandmother’s too, though I do eliminate them after I try them and get them posted on the blog. It’s like an obsession with me. If a recipe sounds good in a magazine, I figure I can make it better based on my family’s likes and dislikes and tuck it away to try and manipulate at a later date. I recently decided it was time to clean-up this mess.

Years ago I found an old metal LP file box at a garage sale for 50 cents and dressed it up a bit so it didn’t look like a trash bin on my kitchen counter, it was a beat up lime green with stickers everywhere originally. I have since retired that box, but kept the system. 😀

Years ago I wrote 2 different family reunion cook books which helped some with eliminating the scraps of paper and I’m also in the midst of writing another Tastebook to use as family Christmas gifts that is helping to clean up this mess on a permanent basis.

I have a perpetual list on the counter and every time we use something or run out of something, everyone is trained (finally) to list whatever they used or ran out of on an ongoing basis.We keep a pretty concise calendar with everyone’s activities, appointments, meetings and such on it. I also write what we will be eating on each day so they’ll know what to expect. If for some reason we have to cancel a night I will rearrange the week so that the meal actually canceled is one using something from the freezer, not the fresh ingredients I’ve already purchased. When I do the shopping I buy in bulk to cut the cost and since I have my menu plan ahead of time, I break down the bulk package into meal appropriate sizes before freezing when I get home.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY with WEEKLY MENU & RECIPES week 1 of 2024 ~ BLOG 366.1

And after being out on New Year’s Eve last night for the first time in MANY a year, I really have no intention of doing much – other than staying in my PJ’s and relaxing today. Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Surprise, it’s cold, gray and rainy here in the Pacific North West. We’re still JUST a bit above normal which is not predicted to last, but it’s a wet cold in the low 40’s during the day with night time lows of mid 30’s. The years we don’t have snow for Christmas usually bring snow in the new year and this year won’t disappoint evidently. We have a dip in temperatures predicted at the end of the week with snow predicted for the weekend on.

Hubby got me several new flannels for Christmas so I’ll be trying those out this week with Levis, turtlenecks and my favorite UGGs.

I’m starting off 2024 FRESH with a new look here on the blog, but also my outlook on what I want to accomplish in this new year. The blog look may change a few times as I adjust to the color combinations 😀

I’m even attempting a new way to combine all my different lists, calendars and planners into one place. I found an easy to use calendar/planner from a company called Fringe that is compact, yet full size and to all appearances will allow me to keep ALL my planning in one place instead of multiple planners, whether it’s birthdays, appointments or meals. WISH ME LUCK 😀 I’ve used the same brand and style of calendar/system for so many years now I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to do it, but have high hopes in eliminating all the multiple planners.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING/GROCERIES & ERRANDS This week I’ll be cleaning up from the holidays and doing a deep cleaning all around. I actually have no appointments and did all the shopping last Friday other than the Eagles shopping on Wednesday afternoon. I’m even starting off with NO laundry besides what we wore to the party last night.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I’ll be cleaning up the end of year files and boxes of receipts and trying to get rid of all the stray notes on my desk so I can start the new year off less cluttered.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m deciding which cookbook to cook from for the remainder of the month after I finish a few leftover recipes, but leaning towards a new one from Taste of Home, the all-new MOST REQUESTED recipes” that came in my last quarterly box. I have a list of some “scheduled” to post recipes I want to use this month also.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • We just finished the 2nd season of REACHER on Prime and will watch the Kid’s Baking Championship on Food Network that begins tonight and football of course. Besides that not much is worth our time.

I’m about halfway through Marie Force’s current book STATE of BLISS, book #6 of the First Family series.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀 Jean did suggest some coffee yogurt and I was able to find it, but it just wasn’t the same 🙁

There were so many meals in December that were altered or downright canceled that I’m rolling many of them over into January. I was able to end the year with a cleaned out refrigerator and am looking forward to cleaning out the freezer and pantry this next month.

My plan is to then pick one cookbook each month and cook all the “tagged” recipes from that book before donating the book. I’ll only keep the recipes we REALLY liked and will add them to my actual recipe box.

MONDAY 1/1
TUESDAY 1/2
WEDNESDAY 1/3
THURSDAY 1/4
FRIDAY 1/5
SATURDAY 1/6
SUNDAY 1/7
DINNER
 BLACK EYED PEA CHILI & CORN BREAD
 WHITE CHICKEN CHILI LASAGNA
CORN clean out refrigerator night
ROLLED FLANK STEAK and CAULIFLOWER GRATIN
 CHICKEN CORDON BLEU and SALAD
 PORK CHOPS with APPLE STUFFING
CARNITAS with HOT PINEAPPLE SAUCE & SALAD
DESSERT
 probably nothing as there are still plenty of holiday treats around 😀
 
 

Usually the sunsets are the gorgeous ones, but this was midday to the east a couple days ago.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY with MENU & RECIPES week 52 of 2023 ~ BLOG 365.359B

MERRY CHRISTMAS friends. I hope you are all having a blessed and wonderful holiday surrounded by friends and family.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Unfortunately, we have no snow this year for Christmas. But, it’s raining and cold – go figure 😀 We will be staying home and cozy today. A few friends may drift in and out as they make their way home from their various family celebrations so I will get out of my PJ’s and put on something warm and cozy. It may not be snowing, but it IS raining and bone chilling cold. We’re supposed to be in the 40’s all week for highs with gray, cloudy days and 30’s at night for the lows with lots of rain. EL NINO years are so unpredictable and change the forecast frequently, sometimes hourly.

BLOGMAS 2023 is a wrap (pun intended). I had a good time and was able to keep up in a relaxed fashion because I was so ahead of the rush this year. It was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy so much more of the holiday. I hope you had a wonderful preparation time and thoroughly enjoy today with your family and friends.

BLOG 365 was also a success (mostly) and while some of that was due to BLOGMAS 2023 with double dipping days, I actually did fairly well the rest of the year after I got into a good routine. So, I will be attempting to BLOG 366 next year 😀 And nope that’s not a typo, it’s a leap year.

My uncle continues to weigh heavy on my thoughts as he is declining, but my mom is doing much better with good reports.

I’m making an oven omelette and hash browns for brunch for us later this morning.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I deep cleaned preparing for today so ALL the laundry and everything is up to date.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS There is nothing personally other than a pedicure this week for me to do. My friend that does the other half of the shopping for the Eagles has an out of town appointment on shopping day this week though so I will be doing ALL the shopping on Wednesday which can be a HUGE endeavor because of the New Year’s Eve Party next weekend.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Nothing that won’t wait until 2024 😀
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’ll be adopting a new strategy for 2024 where I finally try all the recipes I have tagged in my cookbooks – 1 cookbook per month I hope.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • Most of the DVR is cleaned out and the “NEW” seasons are beginning to start again so we will see what shows survived the strike and go from there.

I’m reading Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini.

MONDAY 12/25
TUESDAY 12/26
WEDNESDAY 12/27
THURSDAY 12/28
FRIDAY 12/29
SATURDAY 12/30
SUNDAY 12/31
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DINNER
PRIME RIB, FONDANT POTATOES, ASPARAGUS
 PORK RAGU, APPLES & BACON
 BROWN SUGAR PORK CHOPS, SOUTHERN CORNBREAD STUFFING
 SAUCY PORK CHOPS, SOUTHWEST ONION UPSIDE DOWN CORNBREAD
 I’m cooking at the Eagles ~~~~~ LASAGNA & GARLIC BREAD with SALAD
 ROLLED FLANK STEAK with CAULIFLOWER GRATIN
 BLACK EYED PEA CHILI & CORNBREAD for lunch
~~~~~
CHARCUTERIE BOARD CONTEST for NEW YEAR’S PARTY
DESSERT
VANILLA BEAN CHEESECAKE
 
CRANCHERRY CAKE
 

This may be my new favorite ornament. It’s actually a key chain my girlfriend attached to my Christmas present and I so love it!

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY MENU & RECIPES week 51 of 2023 ~ BLOG 365.352B

Good morning friends. I know we will ALL be super busy this week with Christmas only 7 days away. I hope you take the time to enjoy these moments as you move through this week.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Every year I always hope for snow on Christmas, but it really looks like we’ll be disappointed this year. It will be super cold and wet, but not snowy 🙁 Our highs will be in the mid forties (maybe) and lows in the 30’s. It really is like I have a uniform this time of year. Levis, mock turtlenecks, flannel shirts and UGG’s.

I’m making my Christmas list and checking twice, as I make sure I haven’t forgotten anyone or anything for Christmas. I’m also making several lists and preparing to make 2024 an even more organized and productive year in every way possible. I have felt discombobulated for a bit now and looking to streamline a few things.

Hot water, yogurt and a banana.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’ll be doing ALL the laundry and deep cleaning tomorrow as well as the rest the week as I do the holiday baking for the neighbor plates.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I’ll be doing the last of ALL the pre-Christmas grocery shopping and errands and shopping today before meeting a girlfriend for a late lunch.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS just a couple things that need a quick handling this week.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING this is done through the remainder of 2023, but I know it will be in flux and many meals will hold over into 2024.

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
  • This past week has been just holiday baking shows, Hallmark Christmas movies and  couple old classics to clean out the DVR.

I’m starting a new book tonight ~ Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini. It sounds like it will be really good.

“Rosie the Riveter meets A League of Their Own in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s lively and illuminating novel about the “munitionettes” who built bombs in Britain’s arsenals during World War I, risking their lives for the war effort and discovering camaraderie and courage on the football pitch.

Early in the Great War, men left Britain’s factories in droves to enlist. Struggling to keep up production, arsenals hired women to build the weapons the military urgently needed. “Be the Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun,” the recruitment posters beckoned.

Thousands of women—cooks, maids, shopgirls, and housewives—answered their nation’s call. These “munitionettes” worked grueling shifts often seven days a week, handling TNT and other explosives with little protective gear.

Among them is nineteen-year-old former housemaid April Tipton. Impressed by her friend Marjorie’s descriptions of higher wages, plentiful meals, and comfortable lodgings, she takes a job at Thornshire Arsenal near London, filling shells in the Danger Building—difficult, dangerous, and absolutely essential work.

Joining them is Lucy Dempsey, wife of Daniel Dempsey, Olympic gold medalist and star forward of Tottenham Hotspur. With Daniel away serving in the Footballers’ Battalion, Lucy resolves to do her bit to hasten the end of the war. When her coworkers learn she is a footballer’s wife, they invite her to join the arsenal ladies’ football club, the Thornshire Canaries.

The Canaries soon acquire an unexpected fan in the boss’s wife, Helen Purcell, who is deeply troubled by reports that Danger Building workers suffer from serious, unexplained illnesses. One common symptom, the lurid yellow hue of their skin, earns them the nickname “canary girls.” Suspecting a connection between the canary girls’ maladies and the chemicals they handle, Helen joins the arsenal administration as their staunchest, though often unappreciated, advocate.

The football pitch is the one place where class distinctions and fears for their men fall away. As the war grinds on and tragedy takes its toll, the Canary Girls persist despite the dangers, proud to serve, determined to outlive the war and rejoice in victory and peace.”

We finally agreed on a menu for Christmas dinner also. I’ll be making a prime rib with stacked fondant potatoes, roasted asparagus with Hollandaise, Holiday jello salad and a Cherry vanilla cheesecake.

MONDAY 12/18
TUESDAY 12/19
WEDNESDAY 12/20
THURSDAY 12/21
FRIDAY 12/22
SATURDAY 12/23
SUNDAY 12/24
BREAKFAST
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
 
I WILL BE
 BAKING
A LOT THIS
WEEK FOR THE
NEIGHBOR
PLATES!
 😀
DINNER
CARIBBEAN CHICKEN & KENTUCKY SPOON BREAD
 ORANGE GLAZED MEATBALLS with BUTTER ROASTED POTATOES
 CAJUN CABBAGE & FLYING BISCUITS
 THANKFUL THURSDAY TURKEY DINNER @ LAMPLIGHTER
 CHICKEN CORDON BLEU & CORN PUDDING
 I’m cooking at the Eagles and we’ll be having TRI-TIP SANDWICHES, BAKED BEANS and PASTA SALAD
 SHRIMP PLATE & SNACKS
DESSERT
CINNAMON ROLLS
 CRANBERRY BLISS BARS
BRIGADEIROS
BUTTERFINGER COOKIES
SNICKER DOODLES
 SHORT BREAD COOKIES
WILL DISTRIBUTE THE NEIGHBOR PLATES TODAY

I actually took a few pictures this week. We also had a couple hours of no fog so I got at least one picture of Mr. & Mrs. Santa as they headed out to the parade. But, by the time the parade started the fog had rolled back in so thick that the fires truck that started the parade was inside an EERIE haze.

We have had so much rain already this year that the yard is growing mushrooms EVERYWHERE. This one is about 8 inches wide and still growing! And this is the last box for social services and will be picked up tomorrow 😀

HAPPY HOMEMAKER MONDAY with MENU & RECIPES week 50 of 2023 ~ BLOG 365.345

Good Morning friends. It’s a cold, gray and foggy morning her in the Pacific North West. Grab a cup of coffee and join me as we get this week going?

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

2 weeks until Christmas? Are you ready? Is anyone ever truly ready? I just try and appreciate each day as it happens and like Ross said in the famous FRIENDS couch scene, PIVOT, PIVOT, PIVOT as necessary. 😀

It’s gray and foggy and supposed to be cloudy today, but at least the rain seems to have abated for the next few days, which is great. We’re used to wet weather here as a norm, but this year has been so much so fast! I’m looking forward to a non-wet week, but that usually means colder without the clouds to hold in the heat. As normal, I’m wearing Levi’s, a mock turtleneck with a flannel over shirt and UGG’s. High this week will be in the 40’s and lows in the 30’s.

I actually began feeling a bit stressed this past week with a few things (roof leaks on a brand new rook, tons of package to organize and wrap for the social worker to pick up last Saturday for the family I adopted, dead car battery…) but, things have begun to settle and life is returning to normal.

I’m also trying to get a hold of the roofer (AGAIN) this year for the same leak as last year on the BRAND new roof. I know how it’s happening, but he refuses to believe it – MEN! sometimes they are so exasperating!

Do you need some new holiday cookie recipes? There’s a COOKIE EXCHANGE going on over at What’s for dinner with some fun recipes. I shared several of our favorites yesterday.

BLOGMAS 2023 is in FULL swing. I hope you have time to join in.

Back to hot water and yogurt. I’ll just have to settle for smelling hubby’s coffee of a morning.

THIS WEEK’S TO DO LIST, PROJECTS & APPOINTMENTS
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’m taking this week to finish up wrapping presents for the foster kids that we adopted at the Eagles as well as finish making some messy homemade gifts. Hubby and I are also spending a day in the “BIG” town an hour away to finish Christmas shopping. I plan to get caught up on the laundry and deep clean next week just before Christmas.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS I was supposed to go into town tomorrow to pick up my new porch trees, but that was changed for me late yesterday so I’m adapting already early here on Monday morning. Looks like today’s schedule will be moved until tomorrow and tomorrow’s schedule will be moved to Wednesday. Thursday I have to deliver the gifts for the foster kids and will finish my Christmas shopping then so I can mail packages by Friday.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I have a phone call to follow up on that has been a cat and mouse game for the past week. I’m also trying to finish up my last jewelry tree and wrapping gifts. I have the Christmas cards addressed and am finishing up the notes on the insides so I can mail them tomorrow.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING The menu is planned through December, but as with all things holidays I’m staying adaptable and changing as necessary 😀

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV
We’ve been watching Holiday baking shows, Hallmark Christmas movies and a few old classics as well as CHEERS to fall asleep by.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
HOT WATER & YOGURT
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DINNER
TOMATO BEEF BASIL SOUP & GRILLED CHEESE
 OUT
 CHICKEN PAPRIKA & APPLE DRESSING
 ALMOND CRUSTED PORK CHOPS with CIDER SAUCE
 WHISKEY PINEAPPLE CHICKEN & KENTUCKY SPOON BREAD
 PORK CHOPS with PINEAPPLE SOY SAUCE & BACON GREEN BEANS
 CARNITAS with HOT PINEAPPLE SAUCE
DESSERT
 CRANBERRY BLISS BARS
 

The owners have finally updated Herbie this year so he’s more festive. I noticed yesterday that we’ve got some seriously large mushrooms growing under the maple tree and I want to make some of these cute little gnomes I saw at a bazaar the other day. And I’m glad to have saved those Costco boxes to help organize the gifts for social services to pick up.