Wednesday, September 19, 2018

30 Days of Summer - Post #30 - Summer Bucket List 2018 Update

Well, we're three days away from the first day of fall and this is my final post in Jean's, over at So Not Organized, and my '30 Days of Summer' blog series. I do hope that you all have enjoyed reading our posts as much as we've enjoyed writing them. I do think that this exercise has helped me find the beauty in, what is usually, an unbearable season for me. Thanks, Jean! I've enjoyed our time together and look forward to working with you again in the future! Blessings, my friend! πŸ’—

PLEASE NOTE: I am posting this post in full as it was written with 
completed items marked with a line through them and notes made in bold type 
where appropriate. Have added a lot of pictures, too!😊

Sunflowers Blooming Outside Our Back Door

Once again, the summer season is upon us and, as always, it promises to be a busy one. I have been thinking about some of the things that I'd like to do this summer and some of the things that I hope to accomplish over the course of it. I know that, in reality, I probably won't get to all of them, but having a list will certainly help me to focus on the season and remind me to enjoy it to the fullest! 

" see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand" 
(Luke 21:30).

My Summer Bucket List 2018

1. Write my summer bucket list
2. Welcome another new granddaughter into the family πŸ‘Ά

Miss Hannah Nicole - 6/26/18 - 9 lbs 7 oz. - 20" long
3. Focus on building strong relationships with family members and friends 

(This probably wasn't a good thing to put on a bucket list because it's pretty abstract. I do feel that I have tried to stay focused and have moved forward in some areas, while not so much in others. This certainly isn't something that can be held up to a yard stick and measured or simply crossed off of a 'to-do' list and be done with. It is something that will have to be nurtured on a daily basis over the course of a life-time without losing focus.)

4. Finish the unit that I'm currently on in Rhema and start the final unit before graduation 
5. Take a vacation 

(Passed this one up. You can read more about that in 30 Days of Summer - Post #26 - Summer Vacations...or the Lack Thereof by clicking HERE.)

6. Eat watermelon πŸ‰
7. Celebrate Independence Day by attending an area city fireworks display πŸŽ†

(We did celebrate Independence Day, but we did not attend an area city fireworks display this year. There was just too much going on and we were too tired to make the extra 40 to 100+ mile round-trip to do it this year.)

8. Attend an outdoor concert

(My friend, Dorothy, couldn't make it up for her birthday in June, as planned, so, on July 26th we met in Springfield and celebrated both of our birthdays (hers late; mine early) and what a day we had! Bass Pro, lunch at Hemmingway's, Wonders of Wildlife (which was totally awesome!) and the National Aquarium (we got to pet the stingrays and some of them were so sweet)! Then, that evening, we attended the Peter Frampton concert at the Ozark Empire Fair. What a great way to spend a birthday outing with one of my oldest and dearest friends!)

Dorothy and I @ the Peter Frampton concert - 7/26/28
We've been friends since we were 10-years-old.
9. Hike a new trail

(Hiked the nature trail at the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas as part of my birthday outing.)

10. Enjoy fresh produce and herbs out of our own garden 🌱

(This was a great year for zucchini, green peppers, banana peppers, onions, cucumbers, and herbs...all of which we use a lot of.)

11. Celebrate summer birthdays with the grandlittles (and there are a BUNCH of them!) πŸŽ‚

(For details on this one click here: 30 Days of Summer - Post #29 - Summer Birthdays.)

12. Find creative ways to use up items on-hand (food, craft supplies, paper products, etc.)

(Whether it be food, health and beauty products, household cleansers, or whatever, we have consistently worked toward using up the last little bits of stuff before opening new bottles, cans, jars, tubes, packages, etc. and have reused, repurposed, and recycled when possible. I think we've done well with this this summer and want to continue moving forward in this area throughout the coming months.)

13. Attend Project Learning Tree πŸŒ³
14. Visit friends at Truman Lake

(We didn't make it there, but they made it here. It was a short visit, but it counts...right?)

Here we are...wreaking havoc in Casey's while going for our traditional Icee! πŸ˜†
15. Go stargazing 🌟

(On Sunday evening, August 12 (the night before my birthday) my husband, my cousin, Dave, and I went out to the park and watched the Perseid's meteor shower. That is always a thrill for me! I arrived with the Perseid's back in 1961 and they've always been special to me. It's an event that I look forward to annually. 🌠🌟🌠)

16. Plan and complete summer programs at work:

        a) Hug-A-Herp Day (Reptiles and Amphibians) 🐍🐸🐒

Kaiden Introduces River and Rain to a Baby Painted Turtle
River is Fascinated by the Tiny Turtle and Takes a Closer Look
A Juvenile Northern Yellow-BelliedWater Snake 

        b) Explorer Daycamp 2018 - Who Gives A Hoot? (Owls) πŸ¦‰

        c) Let's "Stick" Together Library Program (Sticks)

        d) Sunflowers Library Program (Sunflowers) 🌻

        e) Sunflowers a la Petite Prairie Saturday Programs (Van Gogh) 

17. Enjoy a summer storm

(I can't say that I enjoyed it, but I was sure freaked out by one! The same one that hit Table Rock Lake and capsized the Ride the Ducks boat killing 17 people at Branson. What a crazy storm! And it came out of nowhere! It was the freakiest storm I've ever witnessed!)

18. Celebrate my birthday with a banana split

(Since our birthdays are only four days apart, granddaughter,
Liz, and I enjoyed birthday banana splits together. πŸŽ‚)
19. Catch a lightening bug 
20. Do a night hike 🌜

21. Organize our bookshelves
22. Get blinds up on the south-facing windows

(I have them. They're just not up yet. 😭)

23. Make red, white, and blue Jello

(For details click here: 30 Days of Summer - Post #6 - Red, White, and Blue Jello)

24. Go camping with my husband ⛺
25. Build a bonfire πŸ”₯
26. Make S'mores
27. Make a fairy jar

(We've got the supplies for this, but, my youngest daughter and I simply haven't found the time to get together to complete the project. I think we're getting together in late October, so maybe we can do it then. If not then, then November. We'll see.)

28. Take a walk in the rain ☔

(By the time we took our selfie it had stopped raining, but we did, indeed, take a
walk in the rain at the Lester Davis Memorial Forest on a Sunday afternoon.)

29. Make homemade ice cream

(Found the ice cream maker that we wanted online. It reminds me of the ice cream maker that Grandpa and Grandma had when I was a child. The only difference is, you had to hand crank Grandpa and Grandma's and ours is electric. πŸ˜‰ And ours came with two packages of ice cream mix and two packages of rock salt! I don't think they had mixes when I was growing up. πŸ˜„ 
30. Go to a movie

(We don't go to the theater too often (maybe once a year...or two or three?) but I did want to see Christopher Robin, so, soon after it came out, John and I went to Pittsburg to see it and it was really cute! I liked it! I love Winnie the Pooh! πŸ’— Our youngest son had one when he was a baby and he loved sucking on Winnie's nose! πŸ˜„ So cute! Now his little daughter plays with it when she's at Nana's house.)

31. Preserve what I can of the summer bounty

(This was a great gardening year for us...especially for zucchini and peppers! We used all we could fresh, plus probably have at least a quarter of our freezer full of frozen squash, green, and sweet banana peppers.)

32. Grill burgers on an outdoor grill πŸ”

(Found the little habachi that I wanted online. The grates on it just fits
four burgers and, f
or just John and I, that's perfect. πŸ”)

(Nothing says summer like the taste of a fresh burger right off the grill! πŸ” Yum!)

33. Go through, at least, ten totes of stuff that is packed and put away, throw away, give away, or sell

(I don't know that I've gone through ten totes, but I have gone through some and have done a lot of putting away, throwing away, giving away, and selling, so I'm counting it!) πŸ˜†

34. Play in cool water on a hot day

Playing in War Eagle Creek
War Eagle Mill @ Rogers, Arkansas
35. Have a yard sale
36. Visit Grand Gulf State Park 
37. Do a season-long nature-at-night study using Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor as my guide 

(I didn't cover everything in the book, but did enjoy studying several of the things mentioned throughout...observing the different degrees of nightfall, the sounds and smells of night, owls, frogs, moths, fireflies, bats, and hoppers. I also put together a basic field kit of items that is easy to grab and often needed on after-dark forays.)

38. Collect rocks 
39. Observe insects around an outdoor light at night and sketch them 
40. Feel cool grass beneath my feet 

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

Until next time...

P.S. - This post is my final post in the 30 Days of Summer blog series hosted by Jean, over at So Not Organized, and myself. To see all of the posts that I have written in this series (Posts 1 through 30) click HERE where they are listed in numerical order with links to each.

Recent and related posts that you might enjoy reading...

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 17, 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 17, 2018

Good morning, Dear Ladies! 

I pray that this post finds each and every one of you healthy, happy, and serving the Lord with gladness! Happy Monday! πŸ’—

How was your weekend? Ours was good here. I worked Friday and Saturday. Friday evening our youngest son and his wife and children came by for a visit. I hadn't had my hands on those grandbabies for almost two weeks and I was aching. I, of course, greatly enjoyed getting in some cuddle time with baby Kira. πŸ‘Ά

Saturday evening, as soon as I got off work, I came home, changed my clothes, grabbed my husband, and headed across town to meet up with family before walking up town to attend our town's 62nd Annual Prairie Days celebration. We watched the parade, then walked the length of the activities on Main Street. Friends from Truman Lake were in the area for a grandson's birthday party, so they joined us for supper at Sweet Creations and we got in a nice visit before they headed home. It was, indeed, a blessing. πŸ’—

Early Sunday morning I went out to the park to help the park manager bring the bison in for Jubilee. It's a daily training exercise and I will share more about that in another post on Life on the Tallgrass Prairie (hopefully, later today). It was a lot of fun though. Real cowgirl work! Yee-haw!!! 🀠

Bringing the Bison in for Jubilee at Prairie State Park
Let's get on in to this week's post, shall we? Today I'm joining Sandra and the other lovely ladies for Happy Homemaker Monday over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and I'm inviting YOU to join me! Be sure and check them out! πŸ’—

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and
all of the wonderful ladies of 
Happy Homemaker Monday!
Right now I am...

... enjoying a cup of tea while working on this post. 

Am thinking...

... about the week (actually, the next two weeks) ahead. Have a lot going on and, if I'm going to make it through without becoming over-stressed, I'm going to have to pace myself. 😳

On the breakfast plate...

... turkey, egg, and cheese on toast and Twining's Irish Breakfast tea

The weather...

Still warm. 79 degrees at the moment with a high of 89 expected. Lower 90's over the next three days, then highs in the upper-70's to mid-80's with good chances of rain and lows in the 60's almost every day after that. Will be glad when the really fall-ish weather arrives. I'm tired of summer! 😠 

On my reading pile...

I finally finished reading Discover Nature at Sundown by Elizabeth P. Lawlor, but plan to keep using it as a guide for the study of nocturnal creatures and other things talked about within its pages. At present I am reading The Table That Speaks - Bringing Communion to Life by Kenneth W. Hagin.

The Table That Speaks - Bringing Communion to Life
by Kenneth W. Hagin
On the menu this week...

We're in the midst of our 'Low-Spend September' plan and, while menus are starting to get a little bit different, we're still going strong! 😊

Monday - sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms in beef broth served over brown rice
Tuesday -  homemade Italian sausage with roasted potatoes and green peppers
Wednesday - Guatemalan red beans and rice
Thursday - tuna and noodles with frozen peas
Friday - hot dogs and saurkraut
Saturday - breakfast for supper (buckwheat pancakes, turkey bacon, and eggs)
Sunday - leftovers

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, do my weekly "home blessing", do laundry, wish our oldest granddaughter a Happy Birthday πŸŽ‚ (I can't believe that she turned 20 today! 😲) πŸ’—
- Tuesday - Get together with my BFFF, collect leaves for Wednesday's library program, get together with bead-makers in the evening
- Wednesday - 'Looking At Leaves' library program @ 11:15 and 3:15
- Thursday - ?

-Friday - Work
- Saturday - Work (nature bingo)
- Sunday - Church, work in the afternoon

Last week on those days with a "?" I managed to decorate indoors for fall and go through four totes from the move. Out of that I threw out a trash bag and half of stuff, shifted most of what was left over into yard sale items, and only kept and put away a few things. It felt really good to get that done. Now...if I can just keep going! πŸ˜‰

In the craft basket...

Am still working on paper beads and will be doing so throughout the month of September. Appreciate all the volunteers that have been showing up on Tuesday evenings to help! 😍

I also received and put this together...

(More About This Coming Up In A Future Post)
Looking forward to this week...

Receiving my very first box of Mrs. Meyer's products EVER from Grove Collaborative! I thought that it would come last week, but it didn't. It is scheduled to arrive TODAY! (More on this later!) πŸ’—

Something interesting I watched...

Quest For The Bay on Amazon Prime. It's a Canadian reality show where a group of eight 21st Century people set out to retrace a 1200-mile,1840's fur-trade route from Manitoba to the York Trading Post at Hudson Bay, while promising to stay period throughout...1840's boat, tools, clothes, food, etc. Lots of adventure and pretty interesting. 

From the camera...

Gettin' Ready
Scripture passage...

Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed and beautiful week ahead! And I'll see you next week! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Low-Spend, Dollar-Stretching Challenge - Update #2 and A Couple of New Recipes

Things are going well as we continue to move through our 'low-spend September' (at least in the area of groceries). John and I ran to the store on Tuesday to grab fresh things (milk, cheese, butter, eggs, yogurt, and bread), but, as far as meat, canned goods, dry goods, and other non-perishables, we are determined to use up what's on-hand before purchasing more.

In other areas this past week, I can't say that we've necessarily been 'low-spend', but we have been spending wisely. While in town we purchased items needed to complete several small household projects that needed done before winter and, with the money that we've saved on groceries this month, it has made things like that, not only affordable, but easy to stay within budget. Plus, it feels good just being able to cross some of those projects off our 'to-do' list!

I have two new recipes to share with you this week. Both of them use ingredients that we don't buy and normally wouldn't have on-hand, but, due to someone giving them to us, we did...canned chicken and a bag of prunes.The canned chicken I wasn't too concerned about, but, what in the world was I going to do with a bag of prunes??? πŸ˜²

Well, I have a saying..."When in doubt, pull out the old Betty Crocker cookbook!" And that's what I did. πŸ˜ƒ

I love my old Betty Crocker cookbook! 😍 (It was printed back in the day before everything came from a box or a can and people still used real ingredients to cook with. I got it for a wedding present back in 1979 and I raised my children on it. In fact, I wore the original one out and had to go online to find a replacement for it! My children were always calling wanting the recipe for this, that, or the other, so, one year for Christmas, I tracked down an original copy for each one of them and gave them to them as gifts. Most of the recipes that they grew up on came from that book.

Anyway...(sorry...rabbit trial!)...I got out my old Betty Crocker cookbook and looked in the back under 'prunes'. Even though it didn't sound all that great, I decided to try the recipe for Spicy Prune Cake and, let me tell you, it was delicious! In fact, I think it's my new favorite cake (very fallish)! I didn't have the ingredients on-hand to make frosting for it, so I just dusted the top with powdered sugar. I would like to try it, though, with a cream cheese frosting. I bet that that would make it doubly-delicious! πŸ˜‹ I have enough prunes left to make two more cakes and I'm pretty sure that, after that, we'll be buying prunes on a regular basis. LOL! πŸ˜† 

The other recipe (Cheesy Chicken Pasta) I found online when searching for recipes that specifically call for canned chicken. The recipe was good, but it's not one that I would go out of my way to buy canned chicken for to make again. If I make it again I will do it when I've got leftover fresh chicken that I have cooked and cubed myself and, next time, I'm adding salt, pepper, and a can of mushrooms. This recipe just didn't seem complete without them. I did tweak the original recipe quite a bit, so I will give you the link to the original and share what I actually did with you here.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta
(Link to Original Recipe)

8 oz. rotini (spiral pasta noodles)
2 T. butter
1/2 c. red and green bell peppers, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T. flour
1 1/2 cups almond milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 13-oz. can canned chicken
1 T. ranch dressing mix

Prepare noodles according to package directions and drain when finished cooking. While noodles are cooking, saute peppers and garlic in butter for a minute or two. Add flour and whisk for another minute. Then, add milk to make a rue. When the rue begins to bubble, remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add chicken and ranch dressing mix. Return to low heat and stir until heated through. 


1 c. boiling water
1 c. cut-up pitted prunes
2 c. flour (I used Prairie Gold whole wheat)
1 1/2 c. sugar (I used crystallized cane sugar)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 c. oil (I used olive oil)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Pour boiling water over prunes in large mixing bowl and let stand for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (or spray) a 13 x 9 2 inch pan. Beat prunes and remaining ingredients on low speed for one minute. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes; cool. Frost, if desired, or dust with powdered sugar.

Until next time,

30 Days of Summer - Post #29 - The Waning Days of Summer

Happy Homemaker Monday - September 10, 2018

Low-Spend, Dollar-Stretching Challenge - Update #1

A Low-Spend September and Dollar-Stretching Food Challenge

2019 Planner