Monday, January 31, 2022

Master To Do List and Menu Plan Monday - January 31, 2022

It's the last day of January and the first day of a brand new work week. How was your weekend?

Native Sparrow

My weekend was good here. There wasn't a whole lot going on really. I cleaned house and did laundry on Saturday, had church Sunday morning, and just hung around the rest of weekend piddling around with first one thing, then another. 

Flock of Blackbirds

I spent some time trying out the new camera over the weekend, but didn't get very many good shots. To be honest, I didn't find too many things to get shots of. I'm hoping this week will be better. We're supposed to have a big snowstorm mid-week. Perhaps I'll be fortunate enough to find some more snowy-backed bison. We'll see!

Let's get right on into this week's post, shall we?

White-tailed Deer

This week's master to-do list...

- work 
- clean house 
- do laundry
- wash bedding, doilies, and tablecloths
- wash shower curtain
- figure February budget and bills
- go to the bank and post office (pay bills)
- continue cleaning, sorting, and organizing the livingroom and sunroom
- continue to work with new camera
- enjoy the snowstorm (if we actually get it)
- wish son-in-law, Aaron, a Happy Birthday 

Native Sparrow

This week's menu plan...

Monday - Chicken ranch salad with homemade French bread
Tuesday - Black bean and cheese tostadas with salad
Wednesday - Broiled salmon, baked sweet potato with sautéed spinach and garlic and a side-salad
Thursday - Wintery Day Bean Soup with Ezekiel bread and a side-salad
Friday - Oven-roasted chicken breast with butter and garlic pasta, peas, and homemade French bread
Saturday - Homemade pizza with a side-salad
Sunday - Leftovers


That's it for this week! Have a nice Monday and a great week ahead! 

Until next time...

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thursday Things - A Broken Camera, TikTok, Garden Seed, and More

It's a beautiful Thursday here on the tallgrass prairie of southwest Missouri. The sun is shining and it's 38 degrees right now; a high of 42 is expected.

It's been a good week. I had planned on getting back to deep cleaning the sunroom and livingroom, but, the truth is, I've kept busy with other things and just haven't made it back to it yet. 

I really don't have any pictures to share this week. My camera rolled off the seat of my car when I made a sudden stop the other day (deer) and broke. At first it was just a crack in the viewing screen, but later other things started messing up and it finally gave up the ghost and died. My son helped me find a nice, refurbished Nikon at a reasonable price online and it is supposed to arrive today. I can hardly wait!

I have been greatly encouraged, by several people, to do more with my photography, so, this week, after the new camera arrives, and I figure out what I'm doing with it, my plan is to see what I can do with it keeping all that in mind. 

I started a TikTok account this week. I plan on posting fun videos of the bison and maybe even make some short educational-type videos of life on the tallgrass prairie to post there. Feel free to add or follow me if you'd like. My user name is heartoftheprairie.

I am so ready for spring! I got out the Baker Creek catalog yesterday and placed an order for garden seed. Items selected include seed for basil, green beans, white scalloped squash, zucchini, butternut squash, pie pumpkin, crookneck golden squash, a variety of sunflowers, sweet corn, and Hopi Turquoise Corn. It is absolutely gorgeous!!! 

Hopi Turquois Corn

Well, I better be going. I'm headed to Lamar to take a load of stuff to the recycle center and go grocery shopping. I hope that you're having a nice day and that your week is going well.

Until next time...

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday (The Sunday Night Edition) - Sunday, January 23, 2022

It's Sunday evening and I've got to be out of here early tomorrow so am posting ahead of schedule. 

How are you? How was your week and weekend? My week and weekend here have been full and busy. 

I'm still cleaning, sorting, and organizing. I got the biggest part of the Van Gogh room done. I still have books to sort and program boxes to go through, but the biggest part of what I wanted to get done in there is finished. Unloading and emptying all those totes was a major feat.

After I got done in the Van Gogh room I started on my husband's corner. This is an area of the sunroom where he housed his books, sermon notes, and journals. It's been very hard going through his stuff and the memories, at times, have almost overwhelmed me with grief. It's been hard, but, at the same time, it's been freeing in a way. I've kept what was most important to, and represented the best of, him and have had to let the rest go.

After I got done with his area, I moved on to the other side of the sunroom. This is where the rollaway bed and extra bedding is kept. There were also more totes to go through...some of them have been there since moving in over five years ago. I have gone through all but one of them and, after that, am down to a couple of totes of old photos, which, I hope, to start sorting through soon. After that, I have one more small area to go through and I am completely done with the totes and stuff that have been packed away in the house. It feels good to, finally, be getting on top of some stuff and making progress. 

Well, it's getting late and I've rambled on long enough. I'm going to go ahead and get started on this week's post. Join me, won't you?

This week's master to-do list...

- work
- clean house
- do laundry
- write and send a few letters and cards
- learn how to operate a new camera (my old one died; son, Anthony, helped me locate a new one online and it should be here Wednesday)
- get together with dil for breakfast 
- grocery shop for fresh and select items

This week's menu plan...

Fresh foods that I don't want to forget to work into this week's menu plan include one butternut squash, two yellow onions, a few red potatoes, four carrots, celery, a cucumber, and several mandarin oranges.

I will probably turn the butternut squash into a pie, add the cucumber to the current bowl of salad that I'm working on, and concentrate on eating the mandarins as an accompaniment to breakfast and as snacks. The rest of the foods I will work into the following menu plan. 

Monday - Taco salad
Tuesday - Breakfast sausage patty, Onion Potato Baskets (new recipe - if it turns out to be a good one I will share in a later post), and toast 
Wednesday - Oven-roasted turkey breast filet, brown rice, sauteed celery, and oven roasted carrots
Thursday - Turkey burger and oven fries
Friday - Broiled salmon with mac and cheese and green beans
Saturday - Homemade pepperoni pizza with salad
Sunday - Leftovers

Well, that's it for this time! I hope that you and yours have a had a nice weekend and have a great week ahead!

Until next time...

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The 21-Day Salad Challenge, A Liver Saturation Issue, and The Healing Process

Tuesday Tidbits - Fixed Doors, Old Memories, and A Recipe For Cornbread

Friday, January 21, 2022

The 21-Day Salad Challenge, A Liver Saturation Issue, and The Healing Process

Today marks Day #21 of the 21-Day Salad Challenge that I chose to take up. 

The rules were simple...a salad a day for 21 days, any kind, big or small...they all count. For accountability, I checked in with my aunt each evening, sending her a photo of each day's salad.

Most, if not all, of the salads that I chose to eat, started with a bed of romaine and spinach. To that various other ingredients would be onion, green pepper, cucumber, grape tomatoes, grated carrot, feta cheese...perhaps shredded cheddar, a boiled egg, bacon bits, and/or garlic and cheese croutons. 

Some salads were a meal in themselves; others were served as a side-salad. All were enjoyed with Ranch dressing, which was a complete joy! 

You see, due to a liver saturation issue, back in 2016 I had developed an allergic reaction to anything with vinegar in it...ANY thing!!! Before figuring out what was causing the problem, the allergic reaction had become so bad that I ended up in an emergency room with anaphylactic shock. My heart rate was over 200 beats per minute, I had a raised and itchy rash from head to toe, and could not breathe. Thank God I was less than five minutes away from the hospital when the incident occurred. Otherwise they said I wouldn't have made it. I left the hospital with an EpiPen and strict orders to follow up with my regular doctor and an allergy specialist. The reaction had been caused by eating one bite of a taco containing one package of taco sauce on it at Taco Bell. I've never eaten there since.

It took a while to figure out what the underlying problem really was, but, once it was (a liver saturation issue due to too much Vitamin A), the allergy specialist at Springfield told me to stay away from anything with vinegar in it and warned me that places like Subway could prove deadly (open salad bins and so many sauces being used and distributed directly over top of them).

For over five years I have had to give up everything with vinegar completely and, for the most part, stay away from restaurants. If I did eat out somewhere, or at somebody else's house, I had to choose foods with no possibility of vinegar in them. (You would be surprised at what all has vinegar in it!) 

The issue pretty much eliminated salads of any kind even at home. Who wants to eat a bowl of raw vegetables with nothing to give it some flavor? 

For the past five-plus years I have had to stick with very plain food...cheeseburgers with nothing on the bun but meat and cheese, a plain grilled chicken breast with a baked potato, etc. I even had to be careful with meats (ground chicken contains vinegar) and luncheon and deli meats. Most are clearly marked as to containing vinegar and some just say that they are packaged in an "acidic solution"...that's code word for vinegar. It was cRaZy!!!

Anyway...long story short...I have only just recently been able to start adding things back to my diet that contain vinegar without incident. The first thing that I was able to add back in was mustard; then, Miracle Whip. Just within the past month or so I have been able to add ketchup back into my diet, A-1 Sauce (which I love and have missed soooo much!) and, yes, miracle of miracles, RANCH DRESSING! 

I tried ranch dressing a year or so ago on a chicken ranch salad and, nope, couldn't do it! I only had a small amount. I didn't have the breathing issues, but I did break out in welts that itched like crazy all over my ears, neck, and back. That was one of the mildest reactions to anything with vinegar that I've had since this ordeal started. Without the breathing issues and the welts from head to toe I knew I was on my way to recovery!

Praise God! Within the past few things seem to be normalizing completely. I'm still not ready to tackle apple cider vinegar and don't know that I ever will be again. THAT is what I was using regularly when all this started and sparked everything off, but, the point is, I am finally getting to a place that I can once again enjoy so many things that I've had to give up for so long and salad with Ranch dressing is one of them!

I cannot even begin to express the joy I have in, not only completing the 21-day challenge, but in knowing that this liver saturation issue is behind me, and that my body is healed! Praise the name of the Lord for His blessings are many!!! 

Until next time,

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits - Fixed Doors, Old Memories, and A Recipe For Cornbread

Today has been a long, but productive long, in fact, that earlier I thought it had to be 9 or 10 o'clock at night and couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock and in was only 6:30! What??? 

Oldest son and daughter-in-law came over this morning. Rudy fixed my bedroom door (it's been dragging at the bottom since we laid the carpet when we first moved in) and put a new door knob on that works like it should...which is really nice...and he straightened the frame on the front door and weather-stripped it for me. That should help to cut the heating bill in future.

This afternoon I got started on the sunroom. That's where my husband's bookshelves and sermon notes are, as well as, totes of old photos and other stuff. It's been fun going through old pictures, but, my, oh, my! How I do love and miss my husband! 

As I was going through the pictures I kept thinking of the words to the theme from The Way We Were...

I also found the Christmas card that he gave me the Christmas Eve that he proposed. So special! 

I made a pan of cornbread this morning and enjoyed a piece with supper this evening. I haven't made cornbread in a long time. Here is my the recipe that I use...


1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt    
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour into an 8x8x2 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with pan spray. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. 

In the late afternoon daughter-in-law, Nicole, and I went for a walk around the neighborhood while the grands rode their bikes. It was a nice day to get out and get some exercise for all of us.

Now, I'm settling down with a cup of tea and an episode or two of Little Men with Michelle Rene Thomas and Spencer Rochfort. 

Until next time...

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Monday, January 17, 2022

Master List and Menu Plan Monday - January 17, 2022

Good morning! It's Monday!

The past week has been a complete blur and, to be honest, I feel like I'm missing in action, but the weather is gorgeous!!!

We had snow on Saturday and I got to work at the park by myself that day. The bison herd met me on the way in and they hung around the nature center until almost noon. It was glorious!!!

I love this picture! I think I'm going to turn
it into next year's Christmas cards!

 Looking at the bison outside from inside and across the
nature center and through the diorama.

Yesterday was cold and cloudy, but today the sun is shining and everything is melting quickly. It is 43 degrees at present.

I'm still working on the Van Gogh room. The big stuff is done. I've cleaned, sorted, organized, discarded, emptied, and donated...I don't know how many...totes, bags, and boxes of stuff over the course of the past two weeks. I've got a pile of empty totes and storage containers in the living room now that I need to decide what to do with. I will probably use them to start the sorting process of the shed and garage this spring.

As for the Van Gogh room I still have books and program boxes to sort through (these are clear plastic boxes that have stuff in them that I've used for programs at work over the years) and I want to clean the carpet. Other than that, I think I'm done. Hallelujah!

I hope to start sorting through my husband's books and stuff next. It's been six months and I've not moved a thing. I think it's time to get started. If I start and it doesn't seem right, then I'll stop and do it later. We'll see.

Please pray for my friend, Euleta, and her family. Euleta's eldest daughter has COVID and has been on a vent since late December. Her lungs have collapsed and they are moving her to comfort care today; the daughter's first grandchild is on it's way into the world even as I type this. Please be in prayer for this entire family. 

I'm going to get right on in to today's post. Won't you join me?

This week's master to-do list...

- work
- clean house
- refill the bird feeders
- deep clean the sun porch and livingroom
- do laundry
- write and mail some cards and letters
- get together with my friend, Carla
House Finch @ Feeder This Week

This week's menu plan...

I'm on Day 17 of the 21-Day Salad Challenge and haven't missed a day yet. Each day I report in to my aunt and send her a picture of my daily salad. It's kept me accountable and it feels good to have upped my daily fruit and vegetable intake to such a degree. My plan is to continue even after the challenge has ended.

I'm determined to use up leftovers in the fridge and extra meals that have been divided and frozen, so much of this week's menu plan will revolve around that.

Breakfast ideas...

- peaches and cream oatmeal and toast
- Trim Healthy Mama pancakes with frozen blueberries, Triple 0 yogurt, and sugar-free syrup
- fat-free turkey slices, egg, and Laughing Cow cheese wedge on toast
- cottage cheese on toast with fresh fruit
- cinnamon-apple oven-baked toast with Triple 0 yogurt
- banana-oat bran muffin with Triple 0 yogurt

Lunch ideas...

- black bean and cheese tostadas
- split pea soup with salad and bread
- chili cheese pie with Chili Cheese Fritos
- homemade pizza with salad
- chicken and wild rice soup with homemade French bread
- broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole with oven-roasted carrots
- salad in a jar and homemade French bread (for work)

Monday - Bison steak, baked sweet potato, brussel sprouts, and salad
Tuesday - Black-eyed peas and cornbread
Wednesday - Oven-roasted chicken breast with baked potato, oven-roasted carrots, and salad
Thursday - Chili with crackers
Friday - Broiled salmon, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and salad
Saturday - Breakfast for supper
Sunday - Leftovers

Well...that's it for today! I hope that you and yours are having a lovely Monday and that you have a great week ahead!

Until next time...

UPDATE - Before I even got this posted I got word that Euleta's daughter is gone. As far as I know, the baby has not arrived yet, but will be here shortly. Please, please, please be in prayer for this family. Thank you!

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Monday, January 10, 2022

This Week's Menu Plan

Greetings, Dear One! It's Monday! 💗

I'm headed for work this morning and am running short on time, so I'm going to keep it simple and just share this week's menu plan. 

I'm on Day 10 of the 21-Day Salad Challenge, so salads will remain aa a definite daily feature.

Here my plans for the week...

Breakfast ideas - 

- THM pancakes with blueberries, Triple 0 yogurt, and sugar-free syrup
- oatmeal with Triple 0 yogurt and/or toast
- banana oat-bran muffin with Triple 0 yogurt
- sausage, eggs, and toast 
- French-toast with sugar-free syrup
- cinnamon-apple toast with Triple 0 yogurt
- cottage cheese on toast with fresh fruit

Lunch ideas - 

- salad
- soup and sandwich
- black bean and cheese tostadas
- sandwich and chips
- out

Supper menu plan for the week...

Monday - Chicken and wild rice soup with toasted Ezekiel bread and salad
Tuesday - Broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole with oven roasted carrots
Wednesday - Pasta, sauce, Italian sausage, salad, and homemade French bread or homemade pizza and salad
Thursday - Broiled salmon, baked sweet potato, and sautéed spinach
Friday - Out 
Saturday - Breakfast for supper (French toast or sausage, eggs, and fried potatoes)
Sunday - leftovers

Well...that's it for now! You have a nice day and a great week ahead and I'll be with you again soon!

Until next time...

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Thursday Things - Cleaning and Organizing, Yellow Roses, Winter Snow, and More

It's late and here I am again. They say that it's best to post blog posts in the morning, but I'm finding, that for me, writing comes easier at least it has lately. 

Tonight's Sunset

I've been working on a variety of projects the past couple of days, but have concentrated my efforts mainly in the Van Gogh room (my office). So far, I've rearranged the closet and have put the Christmas boxes away. At present I'm going through totes and am trying to develop a system to sort and organize them. A lot of stuff is going straight in the trash; other stuff is going into piles to be recycled or repurposed (magazines, paper, cardboard, etc.), and still more is being separated out into general bins to be separated out further another day (art and craft supplies, pens and pencils, photographs, items to sell, items to donate, etc.). It's a job, for sure, but at least I feel like I'm making progress. 

I'm on Day 6 of the 21-Day Salad Challenge and am really enjoying it. I'm paying attention to what goes into my mouth, am making healthier choices, and am writing everything down. I'm also upping my water intake. After just a few days I'm already feeling better and have more energy. You guys are probably sick of me posting pictures of salad, but it's an important part of my life right now. 🥗

Yesterday's Taco Salad

I've been thinking about and remembering my Grandma Viola. She was my mom's mom. Today marks, what would have been, her 101st birthday. 

Grandma Viola and I

Grandma loved yellow roses! Every year I look for yellow roses to commemorate her birthday. When we lived in the Kansas City area finding yellow rose in January was easy; where we live now...impossible (even fake ones)! Last year I discovered four bundles of yellow silk roses at Dollar Tree around Memorial Day. I snatched them up and have kept them bagged in the closet all year long. 

Last night I unwrapped them and put them in a pretty yellow vase. They will stand in for the real roses that Grandma loved (and that I long to find) and will serve nicely as a reminder of Grandma Viola and her love for all of us. 💛

I awoke to snow this morning. This late afternoon I took a break from all the cleaning and sorting and took a drive out through the park. Here are some of the sights that I saw on my outing...

Well, I guess that's it for today. I hope your Thursday has been good and that your have a great Friday!

Until next time...

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