Monday, October 31, 2022

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

Good morning! October is very nearly over and the holiday season is upon us! Can you believe it? 

What are you celebrating today? Halloween? Reformation Day? You can read my thoughts about (and our family's experience with) both by clicking HERE and reading this post from 2017.


The first thing I saw this morning, when I stuck my head out the door, was a shower of golden leaves cascading from the pecan trees in the backyard. It was so beautiful! 

Great Blue Heron

We finally got some rain. It rained all day Monday and part of the day Tuesday. We got a bit more over the weekend. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor our county has been upgraded from a D4 rating (exceptional drought) to a D3 (extreme drought). That means that we're not quite as dry this week as we were last, but we still need much more rain. I'm praying for some cool and rainy days come November.

 American Bald Eagle

Let's go ahead and take a look at the week ahead...shall we?

National Bison Day is Celebrated Annually 
on the First Saturday in November

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

- clean house
- do laundry
- turn the calendar page
- figure October budget and bills
- go grocery shopping 
- add to my winter stock up
- write (cards, letters, articles, posts)
- finish weatherizing (I didn't get to it last week)
- work
- make chili for National Bison Day @ work
- celebrate and help host National Bison Day @ work
- get together with family and friends
- set the clock back (Saturday night)

It's Time to Fall Back

This week's menu plan...

I stopped at Walmart yesterday afternoon to pick up fresh items and stuff that I was out of, but plan to go to Aldi's with Amber tomorrow to add a few stock-up items to my beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, pan spray, and tea are all on my list at this point, and I'm sure I'll add a few more items before the trip is over. 

This morning for breakfast I'm having a turkey sausage patty, egg, and cheese on sprouted bread with a cup of hot tea; for lunch I plan on having leftover chicken and rice soup. 

I will focus meals this week around fresh items on-hand. I have an abundance of apples and carrots, a head or two of garlic, a yellow onion, some green onions, a few Yukon Gold potatoes, and small box of mixed salad greens that all need used up before going bad. 

A couple of meal ideas that immediately come to mind are a good stir-fry over rice and butter and garlic pasta served with a side salad. 

The apples can be fried, turned into apple-cinnamon toast for breakfast, eaten fresh as snacks, or made into a cake that can be cut, packaged in individual portion sizes, and frozen to be eaten later.

Some of the carrots will be used in the stir-fry, of course, but the rest of them can be oven-roasted and served, along with the potatoes, as a side to chicken, turkey, or fish. 

The rest of the week's lunch and supper menus will revolve around soups that are sealed and waiting in the fridge and chili. 

Milkweed Pods

Well, that's it for today! I hope that your week is off to a lovely start and the week ahead is a great one!

Until next time...

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

All Things Autumn Tag

Earlier in the month my friend, Jean, over at Chit Chat with Jean mentioned me in a fun autumn tag. She thought I might enjoy joining in, and she was right! I would and I am finally getting around to doing so! 

1.  What is your favorite thing about fall?

To be honest, I don't know that I can limit my answer to just one thing. I love pretty much EVERYTHING about fall...the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes! I guess if I had to narrow it down to just one thing, I would have to say NATURE...because that pretty much encompasses it all in one way or another anyway...right? 😉
2.  Do you get fall colors where you live?

Yes! And I love viewing them! 🍁🍂🍁

3.  Favorite fall scent?  (wax melts, candles, anything)

Pumpkin spice and WoodWick brand Fireside candles,  Bath and Body Works Sweater Weather body spray and lotion, and Mrs. Meyers brand fall-scented dish soaps, liquid hand soaps, all-purpose cleaners, and air freshners.

4.  Favorite fall food or drink?

 A Pumpkin Struessel Muffin served with a piping hot cup of tea.

5.  Football . . . yay or nay?

For the most part nay but once in a while it's a yay for the Kansas City Chiefs. 🏈

6.  Do you rake, jump in, or burn piles of leaves?

As a child I enjoyed raking leaves up into a great big pile and jumping in them. Now, I just enjoy them in their natural state strewn about the yard and crunching through them as I walk.

7.  Haunted house or corn maze?

I don't do haunted houses (did as a teenager, but never liked them), but I sure do enjoy getting lost in a good corn maze! 🌽

8.  Have you ever gone on a hayride?

Yes, practically every year!

9.  Cider or hot chocolate?

Both. Cider when it's still warm outside; hot chocolate when it's cooler...and the cider has to be Louisburg brand or forget it! Most of the time, though, for me, it's just hot tea...every day...year round.

10. Carve a pumpkin or eat pumpkin pie?

Have done both, but much prefer eating pumpkin pie over carving a pumpkin. When I do carve a pumpkin though it's generally not the norm.

11. Do you dress up for Halloween?

Used to, but haven't celebrated Halloween for over 30 years now. Our family prefers to use Halloween as a ministry opportunity when given the chance.

12. Candy corn . . . yay or nay?

Yay, but only purchase one container per year, if that.

13. Favorite Halloween season movie?

I don't do Halloween movies anymore (never did like them), but I do enjoy watching TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and always save it for late October. LUTHER, too, with Joseph Fiennes (for Reformation Day - also celebrated October 31st).

14. Scariest movie?

I don't do scary movies at all anymore, but the movie that freaked me out the most as a child (silly as it is) was CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. In fact, it scarred me for life! To this day I cannot handle looking down into dark murky water. 😱

15. Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving for sure! 🦃

16. Do you watch the Macy's parade?


17. Apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Both. Apple pie anytime; pumpkin pie in the fall...especially around Thanksgiving.

18. White or dark meat?

I prefer white, but don't mind thigh meat, either. 

19. Jellied or real cranberry sauce?

Either one. Grew up with jellied, but the real deal is good, too. 

20. Will you host or travel for Thanksgiving?

Travel. Wheather far away, or close by, I usually spend Thanksgiving with family and friends elsewhere. 

I enjoyed answering these questions and would like to invite you to join in the fun, too! If you choose to do so, please, share your answers below or leave a link so that I can read and enjoy your answers, as you have read mine!

Until next time...

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - October 24, 2022

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor our county in Missouri is in D4 drought ('eceptional drought' they say, which is as about as dry as it can get), but, despite deepening drought conditions, it's a beautiful Monday morning here on the tallgrass prairie of southwest Missouri! 

Tallgrass Prairie Sunrise
October 22, 2022

Actually, the weatherman says that we have a pretty good chance of getting some rain today and tomorrow and I sure hope he's right! With most area creeks and ponds completely dried up, everything in nature is suffering. 

(Update at the time of posting - We are, indeed, getting the rain and it looks like it's going to stick around for a day or two. Praise the Lord!)

How was your week and weekend? My week here was full. I worked more days than usual and was away from home every day, except one; Thursday I was home and sick in bed. 🤢 Fortunately, whatever I had was short-lived and I was able to work Friday and Saturday. 

Monday was grandson T.J.'s birthday. I visited with him for a while, then went on into town to pick up a few things.

Tuesday we worked the bison for their annual vet checks. It's always an adventure to work in such close proximity to the animals, but everything went well and it was a great day.

Bison in the Corral

I captured the first frost flowers of the season early Wednesday morning. They are so beautiful and this is the earliest that I've ever seen them. Usually, it doesn't get cold enough for them to appear until November and, generally, closer to Thanksgiving. There will be more, of course, but this first round was super early.

Frost Flower
October 19, 2022

Also on Wednesday a friend of mine and I visited the Amish, Mennonite, and other stores to the north of us. While there we visited the Bates County Museum. They have a small gift shop there and I found, and purchased, a few more vintage cookie cutters. They're like the ones my mom had when I was growing up. The ones Mom had were all tin; some of the ones I've purchased are tin, but some, are copper. I like them all! Inadvertantly, I think I've started an acutally collection of them. I buy them wherever I find them if they're not too expensive and use them to decorate. 

Vintage Copper and Tin Cookie Cutters

I worked Friday and Saturday; after church Sunday I worked outside. 

Zinnias Along the Front
October 2022

The zinnias that were planted in the garden early on died, and were removed long ago, but the zinnias in front of the house fared somewhat better. They were completely dry on the stem, so I pulled them up and removed the heads to save seed for next year. I cut and saved dried purple coneflower heads for seed for next year, too.

Purple Coneflower
August 2021

Tony stopped by for a minute on his way to somewhere else and ended up staying and helping me plant some iris bulbs. One of our regular visitors to the park brought them to me a while back and we planted them all in one bed where they will grow as a testimony of her kindness. She had each group of bulbs and cream, blue and white, purple dwarfs, and yellow. I will very much be looking forward to seeing them bloom in the spring!

Additionally, we got a mum planted, got the garden tools put away in the shed, and added plant debris and downed limbs to the brushpile. I still have a bit of weatherizing left to do on the outside of the house and I need to cover the vents, but, other than that, the outside work is done until spring.

Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site

Well...enough about last week! Let's take a look at the week ahead, shall we?

Ground Cherries
Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site

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

- clean house
- do laundry
- send birthday wishes to granddaughter, Kayla
- take printed and matted photos to a local shop to display and sell
- write (letters, an article, and a, hopefully, an additional post or two)
- continue weatherizing my home
- get together with family and friends
- start planning the holidays

Butler City Lake
Butler, Missouri

This week's menu plan...

This week will pretty much look like last week...rice and beans, soups, fresh fruits and vegetables. I do have a carton of egg whites that needs used, so I will turn that into a large batch of Trim Healthy Mama pancakes and freeze them in portion-sized packages. 

Sunrise Over Tallgrass Prairie
Other than that, I guess that's it for today! You all have a great Monday and I'll be with you again soon!

Until next time...

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Monday, October 17, 2022

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - October 17, 2022

Good morning! It's a brand new week and, here we are, half way through the month of October already! Can you believe it? How was your week and weekend?

My week here was good...busy...worked a lot of extra hours. 

Thursday's doctor appointment went well. My TSH level is still not where it should be, so I expect her to up the dosage. I hope to hear from her today.

Got together with family Thursday night to celebrate son-in-law, Patrick's, birthday around a bonfire. The evening started off pretty windy, but, by dark, the wind died down and it turned out to be a beautifully cool and lovely autumn evening. 

Friday I got a surprise visit at work from friends, Pat and Jackie, from back home. Well, it was sort of a surprise. They were planning on coming down another day, but changed their minds, called, and came right on down. We had lunch together, then I gave them the grand tour of the park. I think they truly enjoyed it! (And I know that I did!)

Saturday I had a group of Girl Scouts show up at the park requesting an impromptu program to help fulfil the requirements for their "Art in the Outdoors" badge. We ended up doing a class on nature weaving.

It was fun and I think the girls really enjoyed it! I know I did! 

Now it's time to take a look at the week ahead. Here goes...

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

- clean house ✓
- do laundry 
- go to the bank 
- celebrate grandson, T.J.'s, birthday 
- matte and prepare photos for sale 
- get iris bulbs and mums planted (may be too late for this one...need to check) 
- continue weatherizing (it's supposed to be 24 degrees tonight...colder tomorrow night!) 
- work 
- assist with the bison vet checks at work 
- get together with family and friends 
- take a day trip with a friend to the Amish and Mennonite stores north of us 

This week's menu plan...

Last week's idea of NOT formally making out a week-long menu plan worked well. I didn't fill the freezer full of extra leftovers and the Guatemalen red beans and rice stretched throughout the week. I've enjoyed leftovers for breakfast a few times and breakfasts for that has come some much needed out-of-the-box food freedom. 

Foods in the house that need used up this week include carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes. I have several packages of oven-roasted turkey in the freezer, so will probably turn it all into a pot of soup. I have frozen biscuits and rolls in the freezer to go with it. Leftover rice will most likely be stuffed into a green pepper or two. Apples, oranges, yogurt, and oatmeal will be eaten as breakfasts and snacks.

Well, that's it for this week. You have a nice day and a great week ahead and I'll talk with you again soon.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits - October 11, 2022

It's late in the day. I've lit a pumpkin-scented candle and am enjoying a lovely cup of hot tea. 

I finally got the weatherization process started yesterday afternoon (three windows, thus far) and will continue to work my way around the house until it's done. 

In addition to starting the weatherization process, I got the heating stove cleaned and ignited, as well, and none too soon, I'm sure. Nighttime temperatures are supposed to dip into the 40's tomorrow night, with the possibility of it being even colder by week's end. 

We got some much-needed rain overnight and a bit more this afternoon. As dry as we are, I doubt that it was enough to do much, but some rain has got to be better than none at all.

After one or the other of us having to cancel on the other three weeks in a row, my friend, Carla, made it over this afternoon. It was nice to finally get in a good visit and catch up a bit.

Now, I think I'm going to make some popcorn, put on a movie, and wind down for the evening. 

I hope you've had a good day! Talk to you again soon!

Until next time...

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Monday, October 10, 2022

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - October 10, 2022

Another week has disappeared and here it is...Monday again already! I can hardly believe how fast time is moving and every day I feel a little more behind. Behind in what, I'm not sure, but I still feel it. 

Purple Asters

How are you? How was your week and weekend? 

Early Morning on the Tallgrass Prairie

Highlights of my week here include getting my car serviced and ready for winter, getting a big data entry project finished at work, and going with family to Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield, Missouri. 

The Grands @ Bass Pro

One of My Favorite Photos of the Day - Polar Bears

Grandgirls Ruth and Hannah
(I think they measure up pretty dog-gone cute!!!)

Granddaughter Ruth Inside the Aquarium

A Mouthful of Grandchildren

Petting the Stingrays

The weekend was uneventful. I worked Saturday and spent a quiet Sunday afternoon and evening at home.


Sunday evening I enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa and a fire in the backyard fire pit; later the full Hunter's Moon rose overhead. It was a lovely evening to sit outside. 

Enjoying Hot Cocoa and a Bonfire

Here's how the week ahead looks...

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

- clean house ✓
- do laundry ✓
- clean the heating stove (undone from last week) 
- start weatherizing (undone from last week) 
- see the doctor 
- work 
- get together with family and friends 
- attend a birthday bonfire and weiner roast 

This week's menu plan...

As times goes on, I find more and more, that trying to plan out a menu and stick with it for just myself is becoming a futile business. In an effort to stick with the menu plan I, either end up having a ton of extra meals piling up in the freezer, or else I have food going to waste. Neither extreme is to my liking and It is becoming quite apparent that planning and cooking for a family, or even for just two people, is not the same as planning and cooking for one.

In an attempt to get a better handle on food usage and preparation, I think, instead of planning out a menu for the week ahead of time, I will simply share what I'm doing or thinking about the week ahead without being stuck in the rut of feeling like I have to perform and stick with the plan. Does that make sense?

Anyway, here goes...

I didn't get to the Guatemalan red beans and rice with cornbread that I had planned on last week and that is something that I was really looking forward to. So, I soaked beans overnight last night and have them simmering in the pot this morning. I've also got rice cooking in the rice cooker and plan to make cornbread this afternoon. This is a large batch recipe, but it is something that I greatly enjoy...especially in cooler weather, so I will probably focus on eating it repeatedly for lunches and supper throughout the week. I know that some people don't like eating the same thing over and over again, but I don't mind at all. What I don't consume within a few days can be frozen and eaten later.

On the days I work I will come home to a quick supper...leftovers, breakfast for supper, or I will open up a jar of my home-canned potatoes, and green beans, add some ham to it, and serve it with biscuits or rolls from the freezer.

Well, that's it for today. I hope that your Monday is going well and that your week is off to a great start.

Until next time...

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