Monday, January 30, 2023

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - January 30, 2023

It's the last Monday of January and, here we are, off and running into a brand new week! 

Since I gave a rest-of-the-week and weekend update last night I won't belabor the facts, but I will say, "Go Chiefs!" 

Kansas City Chief's Patrick Mohomes

I admit that I've never been a HUGE fan of football, but I do love Kansas City and I love those Kansas City Chiefs! Congratulations to them on winning the AFC Championship last night! They are headed to the Super Bowl! Woo-hoo! GO, CHIEFS!!! 

Okay...on to this week's master to-do list and menu plan. Won't you join me?

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

- Clean house
- Do laundry
- Focus on that final push to get through the sorting and organizing of the Van Gogh room (I'm almost there!)
- Figure February budget
- Go to the bank
- Go to the post office
- Pay bills
- Work

A Few of My Houseplants

This week's menu plan and winter food challenge update...

The winter food challenge continues! Last night I made homemade pizza for supper. In doing so I used up the last of the turkey pepperoni and an open bag of mozzerella cheese. I made a large pizza to be divided and frozen into eight separate meals and a personal pan-sized pizza to be eaten fresh out of the oven. I often do this using a single batch of crust resulting in a thinner crust on both pizzas, which I prefer. 

Not the pizza that I made last night, but my pizza
crust recipe can be found by clicking HERE.

I just mix up the crust and pinch off enough dough to flatten in the personal pan, then flatten the remaining dough into the larger pan. It's simple and equates into 10 slices of pizza instead of 8, so it's a dollar-stretching method, too!

I've got Good Earth Roll dough rising on the counter, eggs on to boil (to be used as snacks and/or cut up and used in salads), and the last of the sweet potatoes in the oven (I will make a sweet potato pie with them this afternoon).

Meals this week will include...

Turkey tetrazzini (roasted and chopped turkey from the freezer) served with Good Earth Rolls on the side
- Pork roast (freezer) with mashed potatoes (boxed), and green beans (canned)
- Sue Gregg's Sloppy Joes (new recipe, but have ingredients on-hand) served with fresh-cut oven fries
- Broiled salmon, baked potato, and a vegetable (canned)
- Breakfast for supper (ham or turkey bacon, eggs, and toast or biscuits)

Well...that's a look at the week ahead on my end. I hope your day is off to a great start and the week ahead is filled to the full and running over with blessings! 

Until next time...

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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Night Catch Up, Recipes, and More

It's been a busy week and weekend here and I've not had a chance to do much of anything on the computer until tonight. I could have saved any updates for tomorrow morning, but I felt like writing and unwinding. How are things going on your end?

Wednesday evening several of us got together to celebrate Burn's Night and my cousin's birthday. No birthday cake, but Amber's Scottish shortbread was delicious! 

Scottish Shortbread

For those that are interested in learning more about Burn's Night or obtaining some traditional Scottish recipes click HERE; for my recipe for Scottish shortbread click HERE.

Thursday morning Angie and I went for a drive through the park before enjoying breakfast at Mary's. We saw a few things of interest along the way, including the bison, but our biggest nature find of the morning was a pair of trumpeter swans swimming on the city lagoon. They were so beautiful!

Trumpeter Swans

In addition to working my regular hours at work this week, I participated in deer survey's on both Friday and Saturday nights. While out and about the boss and I saw deer, yes, but we also saw several other creatures of the night including cotton-tailed rabbits, two skunks, an armadillo, a raccoon, a coyote, and several short-eared owls. It was so much fun! 

Short-eared Owl

I had complany for lunch after church today, but the afternoon and evening has been quiet. I'm still battling broncitis or something so am thankful for a little down time. I've watched a few episodes of Relative Race and just rested. It's been a good day. I will post my to-do list and menu plan tomorrow.

Until then...

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Winter Food Challenge Continues

As the month of January winds down, the winter food challenge continues. There's still plenty of food in the house, but I did have to shop for fresh items and other things to round out meals. I did that yesterday.

Before I went shopping, though, I decided to go ahead and go through the freezer. I knew there were a lot of vegetables in there that we had put up out of the garden, but I got to thinking about it. John was hospitalized the first time in late January of 2021. That was two years ago (hard to believe!). With his illness and death, I have totally lost track of time. How long had some of those vegetables been in there? 😲

Fortunately none of the packages that were
currently in the freezer were this old! 

There were a few bags of zucchini that I put up last summer (2022), but the majority of the vegetables in the freezer had been there since 2020. Since frozen vegetables are typically only good for one year, I decided that, after three years, it would be best to throw them away. I hated doing it, but I don't believe that eating them was even an option.

While I was at it I rearranged what was left. I stacked all the grains together...rolled oats, oat bran, wheat flour, pearled barley, and rice, and did the same with the fruits (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries). These items will be used in making breads, muffins, and more.

I found that there is very little meat left and what there was of it is packaged in very small packages. There are single-serving sized packages of deli ham, deli turkey, and taco meat (one of each), a single pre-cooked turkey burger (am having that for lunch today), one salmon fillet, a package of turkey bacon, a small package of oven-roasted turkey breast, and two small packages of sliced oven-cooked ham. I gathered it all up and moved it to the refrigerator freezer. I will focus on using those items up first. There is also a small pork roast left. I will pop that in the crockpot sometime for a company meal. 

Since I didn't have a single piece of chicken in the house, I bought two packages of organic chicken breasts that I was able to get on mark-down at the store yesterday. I don't plan on opening them, though, until all those little odd and end packages of meat have been used up and are gone.

In other areas, things are moving along nicely. I'm using up several canned and/or boxed goods each week and, although it is slow going, I can visibly see the stock in the cabinets and cupboards dwindling. I am determined to do this!

How about those of you who are following along or doing the same? I'd love to hear an update concerning your progress, as well! 

Until next time...

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - January 23, 2023

It's Monday evening and I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and post. How was your week and weekend? My week and weekend here were good. I worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I saw this big guy on the way home Thursday evening.

Now here it is Monday. First thing this morning I discovered that one of the cats had knocked the plant that my grandson had given me for Christmas off the shelf and on to the floor, breaking the pot and scattering dirt and plant debris all over the place. I was so upset!

I had planned on going to town later in the week, but with snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday, and, now, with needing a new pot and some dirt, I decided to go ahead and go today while it was nice. I'm glad I did. I accomplished quite a bit!

In addition to picking up the fresh items that I needed at the store, and getting the new pot and soil for the plant, I was able to get my tires rotated and balanced, wash my car, pick up stuff for upcoming birthdays and celebrations, and restock household cleaning supplies. I also purchased a new filing cabinet and a couple of clear totes to help with straightening and organization in the Van Gogh room. I enjoyed lunch at Subway and, after I got home, Silas came over and repotted the plant for me. 😊

I have more to share, but I'm running so far behind and still have much to do tonight. I'm going to go ahead and get started and, hopefully, will be able to share more later in the week. Let's get started...shall we?

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

- Clean house
- Do laundry
- Grocery shop for fresh items
- Check fluids in car
- Have tires rotated and balanced
- Wash car
- Celebrate my cousin's birthday
- Host a Burn's Night supper
- Continue to clean and organize the Van Gogh room
- Get together with family and friends
- Work

This week's menu plan...

Menu plans this week include broiled salmon with baked sweet potato, homemade pizza, Burn's Night supper (crockpot haggis, tatties and neeps, oatcakes, and Amber is bringing shortbread for dessert), breakfast for supper (ham or turkey bacon, eggs, and toast), and tuna and noodles.

Well, that's it for today! I hope your week is off to a great start and that you have a wonderful week ahead!

Until next time...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Relative Race, Baking Casseroles, and Recipe For Turkey Pot Pie

I had a great time at Patrick and Amber's last night. We had a delicous supper, brownies and ice cream for dessert, and Amber introduced me to Relative Race

Relative Race - Season 5

By chance, has anyone else here watched it? Oh my goodness! I love it! 

Relative Race is one of those reality tv game shows with a prize of $50,000 riding on the line, but, it's so much more! Four teams search for family members that they've never met before. It might be people who were adopted as children, or those that grew up in single-parent homes, that are searching for biological parents or other family members. They go on this crazy, ten-day race all over the country, following instructions, facing challenges, meeting relatives, getting many surprises and blessings along the way. It is great fun and really pulls at the heart-strings! After I finish the season that we started last night (Season 5), I want to go back and watch the rest of them!

This morning I got up and put together a couple of casseroles. These will be used as lunches and quick suppers over the next several days. 

Baked Rigatoni With Pepperoni

I made a small (two-serving) baked rigatoni with turkey pepperoni and a turkey pot pie with a celery seed drop biscuit topping. I will share the recipe for it with you here today.

Turkey Pot Pie With Celery Seed Drop Biscuit Topping


1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut-up cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots 

(Note: I didn't have frozen peas and carrots, so I used fresh carrots, sliced thin, and 1/2 cup canned peas.)

Heat butter over low heat until melted. Blend in flour, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in turkey and vegetables. Pour into a 9x9x2-inch pan that has been sprayed with pan spray. Top with celery seed drop biscuit dough (recipe below) and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Drop Biscuit Dough

1/3 cup canola oil
1 3/4 flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional)

Mix ingredients together with a whisk and drop by tablespoonsful on top of chicken and vegetable mixture in baking pan.

Now that I'm done in the kitchen, I'm going to go to work in the Van Gogh room for a while. That's what's going on this afternoon at my house. What's your Wednesday look like?

Until next time...

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Tuesday Tidbits - Vegetable Beef Soup, Winter Food Challenge Update, and More

The vegetable beef soup that I made yesterday turned out great and it gave me a chance to use up some things that have needed using for a long time!

Vegetabele Beef (Bison) Soup

For instance...(I say 'vegetable beef soup', but it was actually vegetable bison)...I had two small pieces of already cooked bison steak leftover in the freezer from a previous meal and a whole bowl of tiny onions harvested from my garden last fall. I thawed and cubed the bison steak, and chopped up every one of those tiny onions, to go in the soup. 

Along with the meat and onions, I added fresh carrots, green beans and potatoes (a quart of home-canned; and a can each of store-bought), peas, corn, diced tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, a quart of good beef bone broth, and 4 beef bouillon cubes.

I let the soup come to a boil, then simmer for a while to combine the flavors. When it was done, I kept back a pint to enjoy now, and jarred the rest up hot to seal and put in the fridge for meals later on. (I'm thinking that surely we're going to get some cold winter weather at some point and these warm soups will taste especially good then!)

In the process of making the vegetable soup, I ended up pulling out all of the canned goods. I wiped the cabinet down and put the canned goods back, rearranging and organizing them as I went. I pulled the older stuff to the front, and took out three flats of canned fruits and vegetables to share with others. 

I also eliminated the stack of partially filled flats of canned goods that had been stacked in the hallway, and the corner of the kitchen, for quite some time. Now, all the canned goods are housed in their proper place.

It was quite a simple thing, really, but so much progress seemed to have stemmed from that one act of deciding to make homemade vegetable beef (bison) soup! YEAH!!! 

I've been working like a mad woman in the Van Gogh room (a.k.a. my office). I have all but emptied it of its loose contents and have been busily sorting through pile after pile of papers, books, correspondence, and more. I've got tables set up in the livingroom where I am sorting and making piles. When I am done I will go through each stack and decide what to do with each item. 

There are recipes, letters, postcards, pictures, program materials for work, old calendars, magazines, DVDs, CDs, ministry letters, unused notebooks and paper of all kinds, craft supplies, and, oh goodness! The list goes on and on!

Shoebox Full of Non-Working Pens and Markers
That Went Into The Trash Can Last Night

I am determined to make a clean sweep of it this time, no matter how long it takes. As long as the room itself is clean and organized by the end of the month I'll be happy, but I very much want to go through every tote, every drawer, every bookshelf, every EVERYTHING and do a complete and thorough deep clean before year's end! And not just in the Van Gogh room (although it's the worst), but of every room in the house. I've got a long way to go, of course, but I think I'm off to a good start. Now, if I can just keep my focus and keep up the momentum! 

Amber called earlier and has invited me for supper tonight. I've got a goal in mind that I'd like to reach today, so I suppose I should get back to work and keep pressing on. 

I hope your Tuesday is going great and I'll talk to you all again soon! 

Until next time...

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Monday, January 16, 2023

Master To-Do List and Menu Plan Monday - January 16, 2023

It's Monday morning and, here we are, already half way through the month of January and zooming headlong into 2023! How was your weekend?

My weekend here was good, but blah. I woke up Saturday morning with a head cold. I took some Alka Seltzer Plus cold medicine and went to work. 

It was much colder than I expected it to be. The whole prairie was white with frost and deer, and bison alike, sported frost-covered backs. 

The day was long, but not bad. However, I was very glad to be home as I had spent most of the day chilling. As soon as supper was over I went to bed.

Sunday morning was about the same. After a fitful night's sleep I woke up with a headache. It took everything I had to get up and get going, but, after another round of cold medicine, the headache was gone and I was able to carry on with my day. 

After church, lunch, and a drive through the park, it was back to bed for another nap. I was up in time to watch the latest episode of The Chosen. (Anyone else here enjoying Season Three?)

Thankfully, this morning I'm feeling much better. I plan on taking it easy, though, as much as I can, today and tomorrow because I am scheduled to work extra days. If I had wanted to, I could have attended Winter Interp training at Jefferson City this week, but, I chose, instead, to stay here and run the nature center. I'm still not up to traveling and being that far away from my family for any length of time yet.

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

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

- Clean house
- Do laundry
- Continue working in the Van Gogh room
- Write and mail a few letters and cards
- Work 

This week's menu plan...

Thus far, things continue to run smooth with the self-imposed winter food challenge. I've run out of a few things, but nothing important enough to warrent a trip to the grocery store (it's a 40-mile round trip). I'm just jotting things down on a list and will probably go to town sometime next week to pick up fresh and other items. 

Today I plan on making a pot of vegetable beef (bison) soup and will jar and seal it in the fridge to be doled out for meals over the next couple of weeks. The soup can be served alone as a snack, with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, or with homemade biscuits for supper. 

Other meal ideas this week include broiled salmon with baked sweet potato and greens, pork roast with mashed potatoes, and a vegatable, baked rigatoni with homemade garlic bread, and turkey pot pie. 

My plan is to make ahead as many of these meals (or meal componants) as I can today and tomorrow, so I will have work lunches and quick suppers ready to go throughout the rest of the week. I will make single portion servings, or at least smaller amounts (half- or maybe even quarter-recipes) of some, and freeze extra portions of others, for later. 

Well, that's that's all for today. I hope your Monday is off to a great start and I wish you and yours a wonderful week ahead!

Until next time...

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Friday, January 13, 2023

Friday Hodgepodge - January 13, 2023

I can't believe that another week has flown by and that it's Friday again already! Good grief!!!

I had every intention of coming back in here to share throughout the week, but it just hasn't happened. 

And, yes, before I get too far into this post, I changed the name of my blog back to what it was originally. Am I crazy? Maybe a little, but after I did it, it just didn't feel right, so I changed it back. And I'm sorry. Just bear with me, please. I'm still trying to find my way after my husband's death and it is only by trial and error that I'm figuring things out and determining where everything fits in my life now without him. It's hard.

Okay...upwards and onwards! 

Monday and Tuesday were spent making headway in the Van Gogh room. I'm still not done with it, but I've made a huge dent. Now it's down to simply sorting through stacks of papers, books, and correspondance. In the process of cleaning, I've discarded a full bag of trash and pulled out three Walmart sacks full of stuff to be dontated. I'm not in a huge hurry to get this project done, but I would like to have the room cleaned and organzed by the end of the month.

I'm doing well with the winter food challenge. I have finished up a lot of previously opened packages (bacon bits, croutons, bread sticks, sunflower seeds, etc.) and have made a bit of a dent in the freezer and deep-freeze. As time goes on things will get harder and more creative, but, thus far, mealtime remains pretty normal. 

Wednesday was daughter, Amanda's, birthday and, also, daughter-in-law, Nicole's. Nicole and I were going to go out for lunch here in town, but, then, plans grew and it ended up that half the family met up at Butler and ended up celebrating both birthdays at once. It was a lot of fun! 

After lunch we went our seperate ways. Some headed home and others chose to stick around and shop the bulk food and herb shops in town; Tony and Nicole and their family and my cousin, Dave, and I headed to the Appleton City, Missouri, Cemetery where Dave's parents, as well as my own, and several other close family members, are buried, including his sister, our grandfather, and our great-grandparents.

After we left the cemetery we headed out to the place where Dave lived (and I spent a good deal of my summers and weekends at) when we were children There's nothing there now but the driveway, farm fields and memories, but it's always good to see the old home place. 

It just so happened that, along the roadway, we met up with one of the area ranchers. He knew everyone in the world that we knew there growing up and filled us in on who had died, who was still alive, where they lived, who they married, and what they were doing now, and anything thing else that he could think of. It was really great for Dave to know what happened to friends and neighbors that he had grown up and went to school and church with.

After that we went up the road and around the corner to, once again, "touch the grave" of Mr. Williams! The mysterious L. A. Williams was born in 1806 and died in the 1880's. Childhood dares led us to run up to and "touch the grave" of Mr. Williams proving to the others how brave we were. Mr. Williams grave is all but hidden by a sprawling cedar tree now and no one would even guess that it was there unless they already knew it to be so for a fact. 

Those of us who took the jaunt to Appleton ended up back in Bulter before the evening was over and, after making a quick stop at Walmart and having supper in Nevada, finally started making our way home. It was a long day, but a good day. Thursday was spent recovering! LOL!

Now, here it is Friday and the day is getting away from me. I need to run a few errands so I guess I better be getting off of here for now. You have a nice day and a great weekend ahead and I'll be with you again soon!

Until next time...
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23 Things in 2023


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

23 Things in 2023

I don't feel that I did too well with my 2022 list, but I'm not letting that stop me from forging ahead and thinking about things that I'd like to do, and accomplish, in 2023.

I have struggled though. Usually, I have things coming up that are already on the schedule or that I know might actually be a possibility, but, honestly, 2023 is a blank screen. Other than family birthdays, holidays, and work, there's really nothing on my calendar. 

It took me a while to get there, but here's what I came up with...


1. Purpose to sow daily towards gaining greater health in every area (spirit and soul and body - I Thessalonians 5:23; prosper and be in health - 3 John 2).

2. Keep up with scripture reading and daily Bible study. 

3. Read 12 new books. (I wanted to say 23, but I know me. I'll be doing good if I read 12.)

4. Focus on simple and nutritious foods. 

5. Get 30 minutes of physical activity in, at least, five days a week (walking, hiking, dancing, gardening, yard work, etc.).

6. Lose at least 23 pounds.

7. Post my weekly master to-do list and menu plan here on the blog.

8. Practice hospitality by inviting family members and friends in to share a meal at least once a month.

9. Welcome a new grandbaby into the family.

10. Save money by using up gift bags, tissue paper, wrapping paper, gift tags, and cards on-hand instead of buying more. 

(NOTE - I probably have enough of these items on-hand right now to open my own gift shop, but am already fighting myself on this one. Dayspring is calling my name with their after Christmas sale, BUT I refuse to give in! Thankfully, the wrapping paper that was really drawing my attention is already out of stock.)

11. Deep-clean, declutter, and organize every room in my home. (I think this going to have to be an annual, or semi-annual, event every year. There's just too much clutter!) 

12. Visit Hannibal, Missouri and take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

13. Visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. (We visited several years ago, but I want to revisit with fresh eyes and armed with more information.)

14. Visit Fort Rock Family Camp in Arkansas...either as a registered guest or maybe as a voluteer.

15. Create and keep a new nature journal.

16. Get the north shed cleaned out, repaired, and organized into a storage shed.

17. Redo the front porch.

18. Paint and hide rocks with the grands.

19. Log at least 12 new geocache locations.

20. Explore a new-to-me trail. 

21. Visit at least one Missouri state park that I've never visited before. 

22. Visit Bass Pro and Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield at Christmastime.

That's what's on my 2023 bucket list. What's on yours? 

Until next time...

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