Friday, October 30, 2015


Picked them out yesterday. Will carve today.
And like I said on Instagram, here's another of this girl just because she is suddenly growing up so fast...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Garden Thoughts

We just had our first big frost. Plan to clean the garden out tomorrow, and want some notes to refer back to for next spring when I get ready to plant for 2016.

This was the first garden I've planted in several years (free ranging chickens plus maybe a little laziness kept me away). But with Tripper interested in chasing chickens and me pretty sick of poop everywhere, the girls have been mostly confined to their run. When Jack asked to plant, I had no excuse not to. I had forgotten how much I love a garden, so we'll definitely do one again next year.

Newly Planted Garden Last Spring -
Never Fails to Amaze Me How Much It Grows!

  • 2015 garden had oregano, thyme, chives, 1 jalapeƱo, 2 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 pumpkin, 2 genovese basil, 1 thai basil, 1 sweet basil, 1 parsley, sunflowers, marigolds, and nasturtium
  • liked having a variety of basil, consider adding an additional basil plant or two
  • marigolds sprinkled throughout the plot look really pretty. Remember that you saved some marigold seeds! Do some starts with the kids
  • plant just one zucchini and one yellow squash plant (it WILL be plenty!!); make sure they have enough room; avoid the crooked neck yellow squash variety
  • move the chives to the back of the plot
  • the chickens will eat the nasturtium if they are up against the run
  • try the parsley - maybe 2 plants - in the landscaping under the office window; mint also
  • having pots around the raised bed looks nice and makes watering easy
  • lay down the automated soaker hose; it is fun to go out and water each morning in June but you will get tired of watering by the end of the season
  • plant early enough for lettuce
  • missed having green beans and rainbow chard and kale (mostly as a chicken treat)
  • the pumpkin didn't do well this year... not sure why.
  • have we ever eaten the jalapeƱos you plant?!?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Organized Christmas

I love, love, love Christmas. 

I love the baking and the decorating and the activity.

I love the music and the bustle and the warmness.

I love the tradition and the friends and family.

I love giving. (And, ok, I maybe love receiving also...)

But Christmas can really stress me out. Taking the joy out of the baking, decorating, activity, music, giving... ugh...

Multiple years ago, I stumbled across the Christmas Countdown. A six week plan to get you ready for Christmas by the first week in December. It has worked so well over the years. I have most of the work of Christmas ready by early December and can just sit back and enjoy the holidays.

The Christmas Countdown starts this week, and I'm excited to get going on it. I've pulled out my Christmas binder to clean it up. I've printed this week's worksheets. I've read my Holiday Wrap Up from last year (I am always so glad to have notes to remind me what went well and want didn't work from previous years!). I'll probably even buy and wrap a few presents this week (Egads!). 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Autumn in a Bowl

Feeling inspired to use brussels sprouts after my trip to Minnesota/Wisconsin earlier this week. Tried this recipe that I had bookmarked earlier last week. I like the name Harvest Chicken Skillet, but the kids and I decided to rename it Autumn in a Bowl.

Everyone loved it (well, the kids didn't really like the brussels sprouts all that much). I used boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts and added a big splash of apple cider vinegar (a bit dull without the vinegar). Yum! Will be making this again in a few days.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Books to Finish

I really, really need to finish a bunch of books that I've started. I have no problem letting go and not finishing a book I truly don't enjoy, but these are all pretty good books, I just get so easily side tracked with others. My goal is to have these 20 books all finished by the end of 2015... and should have a bunch of other half-finished books to add to the list!
  • All the Light We Cannot See - this is supposed to be SO good but I think I haven't made it far enough to be hooked yet. I've gotten distracted by other novels a couple times.
  • Daughters of Eve - I was using this as a daily study, but then got off track
  • Faith - I've been meaning to finish this one up for over a year! I initially wanted to read it slowly to savor it, but no I just need to finish it.
  • The Yoga of Eating - I love this book and recommend it all the time. Just haven't finished the last couple chapters!
  • Big Little Lies - my current read - should finish by tomorrow
  • The Small Backs of Children - audiobook that is good but so far I can only handle in little bits
  • If I Stay...- current audiobook, almost done
  • Catalyst - only 12 more days from the library so I gotta get going on this one!
  • Little Sugar Addicts - started but then focused on library books since I own this one
  • Brainstorm - borrowed from library but didn't finish, need to re-borrow
  • The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin is my online life mentor, so why have I never actually finished her first book?!?
  • Better Than Before - Gretchen's recent book, started it but then sidetracked by library books that needed to be read on a deadline
  • Just Listen - an audiobook from last spring that I never bothered to finish
  • The Dyslexic Advantage - more than 3/4 done - just need to finish it up!
  • Overcoming Dylexia - just the last few chapters
  • The Explosive Child - just barely started but good
  • Drive - started last winter and never finished!
  • Deconstructing Penguins
  • ...And Then They Won Gold - recommended to me as a good book about swimming. Not so much but I would like to finish it.
  • Throne of Glass - I haven't actually started this one yet, but it is a library book so I need to get it read in the next few weeks
(no affiliate links - just for ease)

Monday, October 05, 2015

DayBook 10.5.15

Outside my window... it is overcast (can't even see the mountains!) and cool but I'm sitting outside with my tea. It finally feels like fall!

I am hearing... lots of birds in the trees and an occasional car driving by

I am feeling... a little overwhelmed still. Need to look for more space. I think that space might only be found in the early morning hours. I just have to convince myself to get up and meet it.

I am thinking... about financial goals for 2016. Is that weird that I'm already doing that?

I am thankful for... Jack's tutor. This will be our third year working with her, and I just am so grateful for all the hard work she has done with him. He is doing so amazingly well.
From the kitchen... pancakes and sausage for breakfast and chicken barley stew (one of Kate's favorites) for dinner. Not sure what we'll have the rest of the week. Maybe cheese soup, maybe French dip sandwiches with sweet potato fries. I want to try a sugar free blueberry muffin recipe.
I am wearing... running leggings, my old cable knit sweater and slippers
I am creating... a Halloween quilt. I actually started it several years ago and never finished. It will be done by then end of next weekend!!
I am going... to not go to the hospice volunteer training that I was considering. I so want to do it, but it is just not the right time. (see above about feeling a bit overwhelmed) Maybe next year if both kids are back in school. How come I feel both good and sad about that decision?
I am reading... I've been trying to be better about getting into bed early and reading. I restarted All the Light We Can Not See which is supposed to be really good, I just didn't make it very far the first attempt. I'm also listening to The French Lieutenant's Woman which has been long but good. In spare moments, I've skim read books from my Go Sugar Free class - Potatoes, Not Prozac; Fat Chance; 
I am hoping... that my lilac bushes grown madly next summer.
Around the house... the garage is going to get a good clean out over the next few weeks. And maybe the basement also. The fun part of this job is that I get to mostly just delegate. Matt is going to be around the house a lot more than usual the next 3 weeks. Thank goodness for husbands willing to do the grunt work!

In the homeschool room... plugging along, making progress. Our current read aloud is Paddle to the Sea, so we've also got some books on the great lakes, Niagara Falls, sawmills, etc. Also reading and watching DVDs about the moon after seeing the eclipse last week. Still reading some books about Shakespeare and EB White.

How I'm exercising... still doing my Master the Mile class. Knocked over a minute off my mile time after the first 4 weeks. Pretty proud of myself. 4 weeks to go. Then I am going to start an Advanced Pilates class. Nervous and excited about that.
One of my favorite things... fog

A few plans for the next week: not much scheduled for this week. That's good.