Let's Review Those Elusive Goals

*sigh*

Another year is coming to a close.  Every year I say the same thing... how?  How did we get from January to December in the blink of an eye?  A couple of years ago I set myself 52 goals for the year.  That did not go very well.  I think I was a bit too ambitious.  This year I decided to make it a little smaller, more attainable.  Thirty.  Not too big, not too small.

Here is what I started with:

1. (a). Read 25 books.
    (b). Ten of those 25 - Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles
2. See 5 movies in the theater.
3. Save $500.
4. Back up all photos to disc.
5. Visit a National Park.
6. Visit a State Park.
7. Thirty days without soda.
8. Start a compost.
9. Create a living will and last will.
10. Build a fenced area for dog.
11. Eat supper at the dinner table at least once a week.
12. Begin selling crafts online.
13. Rent a dumpster/clean out basement.
14. Clean out garage and carport.
15. Paint bedroom.
16. Landscape yard.
17. Get the chimney cleaned.
18. Buy new towels!
19. Refurb the bathroom.
20. Read to Rowan everyday before nap time.
21. Stop biting my nails!!!
22. Plant a garden.
23. Send out Christmas cards.
24. Begin an exercise program.
25. Eat less red meat.
26. Focus on losing inches, not lbs.
27. Photo a Day project!
28. Finish my first knitting project with the Knook.
29. Learn to knit with knitting needles.
30. Watch 15 unseen movies on Netflix.

... ... ... Welp, I did make an effort!

I did manage to read 23 books this year.  None of which were part of the Vampire Chronicles.  I'm still kind of counting that one as a win.  I did back up the majority of our photos to disc, but ran out of discs.  So that one is about 75% done.  Several of the other goals require money to accomplish and we had that unexpected job change early in the year that put quite a damper on projects and vacations.

2013 threw us a lot of curveballs.  I plan to consciously make 2014 a better year.  I'm going to start that compost, turn the large dog kennel into some type of greenhouse for herbs, have a successful garden!, and take a little time to stick our feet in the sand.  Yes, the new year is going to be great.  I'm going to make sure of it!

Aftermath

Between all the running we've done for basketball games, basketball tournaments, and various Christmas dinners, I am completely over Christmas.  

I don't know what went wrong this year.  I just couldn't get in the spirit.  We didn't even bake cookies for Santa.  He was probably grateful though since everyone else baked some instead.  We did have a nice Christmas morning though.  My mom, dad, and brother all came over.  We watched the kids open their presents then my husband cooked a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits.  Followed by a yummy strawberries & cream Butter Braid.  If you know someone that is doing a fundraiser for these, buy one.  Apple is my favorite.




Fun times were had by all.  This year Rowan has mastered the art of present opening. She even tried to open a few of someone else's presents at our in-laws!  My heart did swell to epic proportions when she opened her canister of flavored Tootsie Rolls and began distributing them around the room.  She's always willing to share.  At least her food anyway.   

My super artistic brother and I have been working on a tattoo idea.  I have one other tattoo that I got many years ago.  I've been wanting more ever since.  So after everyone took their new gifts to their respective corners of the house, I jumped in the car, went to my mom's apartment, and sat for about four and a half hours getting injected with ink!  


This pic was taken not long after it was done.  Still super fresh.  Yesterday it was still pretty swollen and red. However I found the perfect "lotion" to keep it nice and moist.  Coconut oil.  Yet another great use for it! Coconut oil is like a miracle substance.  Today (day 2), it's not nearly as swollen and barely red.  As painful as it started to get around the three and half hour mark, I'm just about ready to start research for the next one.  Definitely a smaller one...

Another Pinterest WIN!

More and more often I find myself going to Pinterest to find recipes.  I mean, is there anything better than Pinterest right now?  Seriously.  Need a recipe?  Pinterest.  Need to know how to clean something? Pinterest.  Need to know anything?  Pinterest.  It's freakin' amazing.

I had a few packages of chicken breast in the big freezer that really needed to be used.  I happened upon this pin for Baked Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos.  Listen it has bacon and ranch in the title.  SOLD!

My not-so-glamorous photo.... 
The photo on the actual blog for the recipe is much more amazing and yes, I am jealous.  Thank goodness I don't really care what it looks like as long as it tastes good.  AND they tasted great!

Only 8 ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of cream cheese (8 oz., softened)
  • 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 12 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon (or more... it's bacon!)
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or if you are lazy like me and don't want to shred your own cheese... use the blended already shredded cheddar and jack.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chopped green onion
  • 1 pkg of ranch dressing mix (1 oz.)
  • 20 flour tortillas (6-inch)
  • salt
Cook your chicken however you see fit.  I cooked mine ( I used about 3 boneless, skinless breasts.) overnight in a slow cooker so it was nice and tender and ready for shredding the next day.  
  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F.  
  • Mix together all ingredients except for tortillas and salt. (Start with about half the dressing mix packet then taste and add more if desired.)
  • Spoon a couple of tablespoons of mixture onto tortilla, roll up, and place seam side down on greased, covered with aluminum foil baking sheet.  Once they are all filled, rolled, and placed...
  • Lightly brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Place in oven and cook for 10-15 mins or until the edges and tops are golden.
Let them cool for a few minutes then serve with dip of your choice!  Yum!  You can find the original post and recipe right here.  This was great quick meal for after the basketball game last week and we had NO leftovers! 

Twenty Three

The last time I updated on my book reading progress was back in August.  I wasn't doing too well.

Fast forward to today, the 18th of December.  I haven't made my goal of reading 25 books.  I did make it to 23 though!  I am pretty satisfied with this fact.  I know that if I really, really wanted to make it happen, I could manage two books.  It's just... let's face it folks, it's the end of the year, the holidays, the gatherings, the madness.

You can see all the books I read here.  I think 23 is a good number.  Then I realized that I have read 9,392 pages this year!  Whoa.  In 2010, I came close to that number with 7,991 pages.

This feels like a win to me.  I'm looking forward to setting another goal of 25 books in 2014.  I look forward to trying to make it more of a routine to read a bit every day.  This Mama needs to find some time for herself.  Kicking back with a good book should do the trick.

I already have the Divergent series on my list.  Other suggestions for good reads?

The Foodie in Me

I haven't shared a recipe in some time.  Not a new one anyway.  You know why?  Because every single time I try a new recipe or deviate from the "normal", someone won't eat.  Usually it's either the 12 year old or the 14 year old, however, occasionally it's the 35 year old.  Normal is more frozen pizzas than I really want to admit.

It's such a pain to find something that agrees with everyone.  And the oldest daughter goes between being a vegetarian and not being a vegetarian.  I'm always so confused on what to buy.

This week's meals are a bit up in the air.  I haven't been on a real grocery run since before we were expecting serious weather last week.  One bright spot is lunch time.  It is just myself and the 2 year old.  She is very open to trying new foods.  I'm sure this will change as she gets older so I'm taking advantage as much as I can.

I opened up the cabinets.  Hmmm... well, yes they are a bit bare.  A little of this, a little of that.  I decided the asparagus and tuna both looked like they wanted me to eat them.  But how to fix them....?

Away to Pinterest I go!

I went looking for one recipe.  Spent more than an hour perusing and ended up making two new boards.  Sheesh!  However, I was able to find something!  An asparagus salad with tuna dressing from the Hellman's site that is apparently a Mario Batali recipe.

image from Hellman's recipe page
I looked over the recipe, nodded my head, and decided that I could make it work.  Very loosely based on the actual recipe though and I didn't actually measure any of my ingredients.

So.... I opened one can of asparagus, drained them well, then put them in a skillet with just a half tablespoon of butter.  While they were warming in the skillet on medium low, I put about a cup of mayonnaise,  a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, one large minced up clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, somewhere around a teaspoon-ish of dried dill, and half of the can of drained tuna in water in a bowl and mixed them all together.  I let that sit and ruminate on how all those ingredients were working well with each other while the asparagus simmered in it's buttery goodness.  Once the asparagus was heated through, I just placed it on a plate then spooned the tuna mixture on top.  Done.  I think it would have been even better with a few thinly sliced pieces of Monterey Jack on it.

I didn't photograph it.  Mainly because I was hungry, but also because I didn't even think about blogging it.  Just know it looked just as good as that image from the website.  And tasted even better!

The amounts that I used were more of a two serving meal as I had enough left that I can warm it up for lunch tomorrow.  If I fixed this for everyone, I would double it.  If you try it (or something similar), let me know how it turns out!

Soooo.....

Yep, I was absent.  Do I need a little slip of paper to excuse me for my time away?

It's been cold and icy.  I've spent more days in my pajamas than I should have, but I was warm and comfy so...

brrrrr.....
We were prepared for much more ice and snow than we actually received.  I'm glad.  Just a few miles north got much more snow and the brief time that we did get big puffy flakes got my hopes up.  We only got a dusting though.

This didn't prevent me from avoiding the door or the outside for days.  The cold, dreary, wet, cloudy days do nothing for my mood.  It's just depressing, sad, brings me down.

I need Sun.  Lots of sunlight.

Kentucky Kicks Ass

There is a link circulating around my Facebook friends that states 25 signs that you grew up in Kentucky.  I noticed a couple of interesting things while snickering my way through the list and comments.

Kentuckians are proud Kentuckians.  We are also fierce haters of other Kentuckians.  Which is strange to me given our state motto.  United We Stand, Divided We Fall.  Apparently this motto doesn't apply if you are either from Louisville or if you are from the rest of the state.  If you don't get this then it's because you aren't from here and don't watch college basketball.  Bless your heart.

Of these supposed 25 signs, I can relate to only a handful of them.  I have lived in Kentucky all of my 34 (almost 35! Yikes!) years.  Let's review these signs, shall we?
  1. You know every word to "My Old Kentucky Home".  I have no idea what all the words to "My Old Kentucky Home" are.  In fact, I couldn't even tell you the first word.
  2. It's not a shopping cart, it's a buggy.  I have been known to call a shopping cart a buggy before, but I try to avoid it.  The Amish use buggies (with horses), I use a cart.   
  3. Big Blue Madness is the single most exciting night of the year.  Err... nope.  Haven't ever watched it, but I do understand that basketball is a religion.  Which brings us to number four...
  4. Unless you're from Louisville, University of Kentucky basketball is the only sport that matters.  (If you're from Northern Kentucky, there's also the Bengals and Reds.)  It's just a simple fact that you CAN NOT support both teams.  It's not physically possible.
  5. If you see someone wearing camouflage, that doesn't necessarily mean they just came from hunting.  Guilty. 
  6. It's not pronounced LOUIS-VILLE, it's LEWA-VUL or Looo-vul.    Not Lewis-ville,  not Looie-ville, it's Lew-a-vul or (all one syllable) Looovul.  For God's sake people... GET IT RIGHT!
  7. You may have never taken a sip of it, but you know more facts about bourbon than most avid drinkers.  In Kentucky, there are more barrels of bourbon than there are people.  Also I'm a shamed Kentuckian.  I don't drink bourbon.  Gag.
  8. You still talk about the giant snowstorm of '94.  It was like the end of the world, y'all.  All stores were sold out of any milk, bread, or toilet paper for weeks. (Actually it was a couple of days...)  This is nothing compared to the Ice Storm of '09 though.  I wrote about it... here, here, and here
  9. Christian Laettner is the most hated player in the history of sports.  He's the devil.
  10. At least one of your relatives worked in the coal mines and you couldn't be more proud of him.  Nope.  I don't even know a single coal miner.
  11. You don't have to say sweet tea.  If you ask for tea, it's going to be sweet.  Who the hell drinks unsweet tea?!  Damn Yankees!!!
  12. If it's summer, you're going to be playing corn hole.  Again... nope.  I hate those two words together.  Corn + hole.  Just sounds like you are trying to politically correctly call someone an asshole.  Billy Bob is a real cornhole.  See?!
  13. You know that it's not a bunch of weeds, it's actually poke sallet.  Never heard of it. I know what a poke weed is and I guess that you can eat it.  No. Thank. You.  And what the hell is sallet?
  14. There's only one kind of potato chip:  BBQ Grippos.  Listen folks... my husband and I just discovered these a few months ago.  They are seriously the best BBQ chips ever made.  Find some immediately.
  15. The ingredients may vary, but burgoo is always delicious.  I had no idea what this was.  I had to Google it.
  16. You recognize the names of families mentioned on the show Justified.  I've... I've never watched a single episode. *hangs head in shame*
  17. You don't say what city you're from, you say what county.  Word.  We don't live in our "native" county and when people here ask me where I am from I always say, "I'm from Logan County!"
  18. You can't say from where, but if someone wants moonshine, you know a guy.  I do.
  19. When you were younger, someone took you snipe hunting.  Hell no.  Didn't fall for that one.
  20. If you had a restaurant, Jamal Mashburn or Kenny Walker could eat there for free whenever they wanted.  Again with the basketball...  C-A-T-S, Cats! Cats! Cats!
  21. You know someone who lives "down in the holler".  When my husband and I first started dating, he lived in a place called Hollow Bill.  Because back in the old days, Bill lived down in the holler and people would "holler" for him from the top of the ridge.  Probably to buy moonshine from him. So it was told that you just had to go and "holler Bill".
  22. Before 2001, Rick Pitino was a god.  Now... not so much.  Unless you live in Louisville.  Remember people... it's Looo-vul.
  23. You know that the Cincinnati airport isn't even in Ohio.  It's in Hebron, KY.  I did not know that. Probably because I've neither flown nor been to Cincinnati.
  24. Your mom didn't make dinner, she made supper.  And now I cook supper for my family.  
  25. Ale-8 is the greatest drink ever created.  I'm ashamed to say that while I HAVE heard of it, and seen it, I've never had one.  
And there you have it.  A little edjamacation (that's education for those not "from 'round here")  about this great state and a little about me too!  Honestly though, Kentucky is pretty awesome.  We have the longest cave system in the world!  You should come visit some time.

The Unofficial slogan of Kentucky!

'Tis the Season

Here it is.  December.  That means that inevitably we will be hearing Christmas music.  Everywhere.

I'm not complaining.  I love this time of year.  I love the music.

But...  you knew there was going to be a "but", right?

I can't stand what I consider modern Christmas tunes.  It seems to me that if you are a musical artist you are required to release an album of Christmas tunes.  I HATE IT.

The Jessica Simpson's, the boy bands, the horror....

Give me Burl Ives, Bing Crosby.  The classics.

Ahhh... yes.  Those are the ones.

Boogies and Kleenex

Hello all!

I took a little time away from the blog this past week.  Spending time with the family for the Thanksgiving holiday, which we celebrated last Saturday when my brother was in town from Louisville.

By Tuesday, Ro was down with the sickness.  She is already struggling with her two year old-ness so being all stopped up with a sore throat and coughs isn't helping her.  We broke out the humidifier, eucalyptus, and Hyland's.  She seems to be on the upswing, but Kleenex is loving us right now.

And I'm starting to get a sore throat and sniffles.

Yay.

Today is the last day of the 30 Day Blog Challenge.  Hopes for the Blog.  I honestly don't have great bounding expectations.  I just write or share.  I don't blog every day.  I'm not necessarily looking for advertising. Though I am happy to review products, like I have done in the past.  P.S.  Applegate really does have the best bacon and hot dogs!

I'm just happy to have this little space of the interwebs to occupy and call my own.  I hope you all had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!


All Dogs Go To Heaven

We are heavy hearted this weekend.  Our beloved 10 year old dog passed away overnight Sunday.  I've written about him in the past.

April 2009
December 2005
He was great with the kids, but big and rambunctious.  We noticed recently that he hadn't been eating his food.  He lost half his body weight seemingly overnight.  We thought he was having trouble eating his hard food, but when we tried soft canned food, he wouldn't eat it either.


We knew the inevitable was going to happen, but you just can't prepare no matter how you try.

Cyrus was an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier, whichever you prefer, but most people just say Pit Bull.  He was from well mannered parents and we taught him to be a well mannered dog.  Loyal, faithful, protective.  He was THE BEST dog.   

If I Won the Lottery or Twenty Third of 30

On Thursday, I briefly mentioned a couple of homes in Australia.  Today I'm going to highlight one of those and show a different one that I love.

If I won the lottery, the very first thing I'd do would be to establish college funds for all three of my children. Their education and well being is first and foremost.  Then we would work on moving... to Australia. Of course, we would need to keep a home here in the US for holidays and family visits.  Plus I truly love Kentucky and could never completely leave.  Kentucky kicks ass

Alright, first up is a 1920's Queenslander or as I like to call it, "The Pretty One".  It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms on two floors.  Listed at $1,095,000.  Even if I won that lottery, I think it's still out of the price range I would feel comfortable paying for a home on only .1 acre (405 square meters).





This kitchen.  I die.  I think it is perfect. I would want to buy this house simply for this beautiful kitchen.



It has a salt water pool with an amazing waterfall.  It would be so relaxing to sit on those chairs with a good book and the sound of that waterfall.  More information and photos can be found on the listing.

Now this second home... it's not even about the house.  It's about this...



Uh... HELLO AUSTRALIA!  I can smell the fresh, clean air just looking at these.


I like the large, open drive way.  It feels inviting.



I love the openness of this kitchen.  The wooden countertop gives it a nice warm feeling.  Though I would definitely want to use the color palette from the first house!  The awesome part is that the walls are actually a similar color so I'd just need to paint the cabinets and put that nice tile accent behind the stovetop area!


The bathroom seems a little "cozy", but honestly, how much room do you really need?  Usually I am in and out of there in 10 minutes.  That sink, mirror, and base are cute and unique.

The outdoor area looks to be a great size, but I wouldn't be looking that way.  I'd be looking away from the house at this view!


You know I love these views, but this isn't even the best part of the property.  This property has solar panels, solar water heater, concrete water tanks and greywater tanks!  Bonus: 378 acres.  Price: $1,150,000.  You can find more information and other photos here.


My Worst Habits

... of which I have many.  Let's just highlight two of those, shall we?

1) I cuss like a sailor/trucker.  My dad was both.  He wasn't a sailor for long though. Backstory:  there was an incident that involved a drill sergeant, an empty box of cookies, and a locker.  He did receive an honorable discharge, but was decidedly "unable to adapt to a military life".  I'm proud of him and don't blame him, I would never have adapted either.  He drove a semi-truck for many years while I was growing up.  I always thought it was cool. But wow... truckers will say anything on a CB radio if they don't know kids are listening!


In all honesty though, I don't think I got the cussing from a sailor or a trucker.  I just caught it and it stuck. Damn it.

2) Nail biting.  I struggle with this daily.  I've always bitten my nails.  It has actually gotten better over the last few years, but I have to keep my nails painted at all times.  And pray that I'm not in stressful situations.  I finally decided to take the plunge into subscription boxes.  This month I joined Julep.
Boho Glam - November 2013 starter box
I took their little style quiz and was awarded the Boho Glam profile.  This profile gets two polishes and one beauty product each month.  I'm not much of a make-up wearer or beauty product person so I should probably switch to a different profile, but I'm going to give it a try for a couple of months and see how it goes.  Having a couple of new polishes each month will surely help me kick the nail biting habit.


What Makes Me Sad

This state of this once great nation that I live in makes me sad.  The United States of America.  Better known now as...

image credit: flickr user beverly & pack
'Merica.

Don't mistake my sadness.  I still have pride in my country.  I just hate how entitled people in this country have become.  Especially the government. How do we keep electing this ridiculously ignorant individuals?!  I wish there were an option of "I don't want to vote for any of these fools" available.

I really enjoyed reading this article.  The views of people who weren't born here.  The things that they could not believe about the US until they moved here.  If you have the time, please read it. It's very enlightening.

The most mentioned thing is the size of everything.  The nation itself, food portions, houses, cars, etc.  We've made strides to downsize our life.  We would absolutely love nothing more than to be tiny house dwellers.  It's a bit hard with three children, but one day we dream of living with less, growing our own food, using less resources.

I wish I could just tell the world that not all Americans are, well...  'Mericans.  And our senators, governors, and the like, certainly don't represent the majority of us.  Neither does Hollywood.

It's all just really sad and makes me want to move to Europe.  Or Australia.  Perhaps this house. Not exactly small living friendly, but wow.  More than likely it would be this house.  It isn't an updated, modern home, but it has solar panels, solar water heater, water tank, and a greywater system!  Bonus: approximately 48 acres of land.  All the gardening I could do!  All the livestock I could have!

Yep. Moving to Australia.


Movies That Make Me Happy

Is it considered okay if I combine days on a challenge?  I'm voting for yes.  We've been so busy the last week or two with cars, basketball, and sickness that I've gotten behind in writing and scheduling posts.

The Cinema or DAY 19 - MY FAVORITE MOVIE

I have a long list of movies that I could watch many times over.  There is one movie that I absolutely adore. Actually it's two movies, but I never watch one without watching the other.


The Godfather 1 & 2.

Never the third installment.  It was rushed and is no comparison to the first two.  The soundtrack was amazeballs.  The costumes are absolutely beautiful and really put you in the time period.  I love it.  The family dynamic, while seriously dysfunctional, shows their love for each other no matter what it takes. The actors are perfect. It's just perfect. I love it.

The Happy Portion or DAY 20 - WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Firstly, let me just say that when we got into a minor accident a few weeks ago (Oct. 26th), I was completely freaked out.  No one was injured, the car suffered only minor damage and the other driver (an 18 year old college student who failed to stop at a stop sign IN THE WAL-MART PARKING LOT and swears she "didn't see" us in a bright orange car) was at fault, but we've all seen the commercials.  The ones from lawyers offices that repeatedly tell you that you better get a lawyer or the insurance company will utterly screw you over.  I was terrified that the other drivers insurance wouldn't pay to fix our car and would give us a hassle.

I was so wrong.  Our insurance company was easy to work with and helped get us started.  When I called her insurance company, I spoke with the sweetest lady who took all of our information and I emailed her a copy of the police report.  The next day I got a phone call from the actual insurance agent who set us up with the adjuster for our area.  The adjuster called the day after that to schedule a day and time to give us an estimate on our car.  Even though they said we didn't have to do so, we took our car to a local body shop that works closely with the business that my husband works at to get an estimate from them.  The next week we took our car to the local office to meet the adjuster.  He gave us an estimate that included replacing whole parts straight from the manufacturer plus other parts and labor AND he came in above the body shop's estimate!  We got the check in the mail a few days later.  They even paid for our rental car while our car was in the shop!  It was so painless.

Yesterday we picked our car up.  I didn't realize how much I missed it until we pulled in the parking lot and I saw it sitting there.
All pretty and shiny again!  It felt so good to have her back.  I will admit that I miss the size and room that came with the rental car, a 2010 Chevy Impala.  The only complaint I had was the fuel economy.  While it got decent gas mileage, we are used to our 4-cylinder Kia, not a 6-cylinder.  And we've been doing A LOT of traveling.  Our son's first 5 basketball games this season were all away games.  So having my sweet little orange car back with minimal hassle makes me happy!


A Photograph of Me - Eighteenth of 30


And here I am.  I am too old to have mastered the art of a good selfie.  My current profile picture throughout the social media-osphere is a photo of myself from several years ago (see sidebar).  I'm usually behind the camera and rarely in front of it. I guess now is as good a time as any to change it.

P.S.  I'm too cheap to go to a real salon to get my hair done so I color/cut it myself.  I made a slight oops yesterday and went a bit too dark.  It was a little shocking at first, my hair had been a lighter brown/slightly reddish color, but I'm starting to get used to it. When I was younger, I kept my hair a darker brown color.  Next time, I'll go with a lighter, more medium brown.


My Thoughts on Education - Sixteenth of 30

Having two children in the school system, I am constantly tempted to homeschool them.  The current state of education in this nation is laughable.

I've noticed as I've become older that the kids seem to be getting dumbed down.  My kids haven't ever done an honest to goodness book report.  They can read very well (my son could read before Kindergarten), but I feel that more emphasis than is necessary is put on "hurry up" reading for AR points.  AR stands for Accelerated Reader and is a program that assigns points to books.  In our school system, the kids get goals to reach every 9 weeks.  What happened to reading for fun?  Or just reading a book once a month and then writing a report about it?  Last 9 weeks, my son's Language Arts (they don't even call it English anymore) teacher told me that he would have a better grade if he'd taken more AR tests.  This irritates me.  He has 7 other classes (with homework) every day, not to mention he's also in the band and plays on the basketball team.  Reading 4-5 books every month and a half isn't impossible, but highly unlikely.

Grammar/spelling.  Today's students probably can't even define these words.  Raise your hand if you remember spending day after day conjugating words?  Also breaking down sentences to show what were nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc.  Memorizing, writing, and re-writing your spelling words.  There should be an app that allows parents to force their children to use proper grammar when texting. N dont 4get da spellin wurdz.  Every time I see this stuff I feel like a little bird is dying somewhere.  Grammar and proper spelling ARE SO IMPORTANT.  If you don't use them properly, you look ignorant.  Period.  I'm not perfect myself, but at least I put forth my best effort!

Cursive writing.  Why is this being ignored?!  Neither of my older children have good penmanship.  I tried to help my daughter with her math homework last week.  I tried.  I had to tell her to slow down because I couldn't read a single thing she was writing!  They have done cursive worksheets in the past, but it was several years ago.  I don't feel that there was too much insistence in learning it.  This is just another example of something that can make you look less than you are.  If I had to print everything I wrote... ick.  You would think I was in the 3rd grade.

I would like to have penmanship this beautiful...

1930s Postcards - Penmanship
image credit | Flickr user pancakes for dinner
Of course, I'm speaking about the state of schools in my area of 'Merica.  Every day I see one more reason that makes me want to move my family to Europe.  Education and other wise.


P.S.  I'm totally skipping today's prompt!  I follow 91 blogs through my Bloglovin.  They are all my favorites.  Each in their own way.

Yeah, I Skipped a Day

Please don't sue me, but I skipped yesterday's post.  The prompt was about healthy habits.  I probably could have written a better post about my unhealthy habits.  I always have lofty ideas, but have no willpower to follow through with them.  I'm lazy and haven't found the proper motivation.

Today's prompt asks where will I be in five years.  Well, I'll probably be right here.  Hopefully on a newer couch in our living room that we've replaced the funktastic carpet in.  But by and large, I'll still be here.  Still be doing laundry day and grocery shopping on Sunday, baking the best banana bread my kids have ever tasted, mowing the grass on Saturday, knitting, probably drinking more coffee than I do now.

And then it dawned on me...

In five years, I'll be sending my son to college.  My oldest daughter will be a Senior in high school.  My youngest daughter will be in Kindergarten or 1st grade.

Suddenly five years seems like tomorrow.  Suddenly I don't mind that we had to travel to three away games this week for my son's basketball games.  Suddenly I'm only slightly less irritated that I have to get up early on a Saturday morning to take my daughter to All District band tryouts.

Suddenly I want them to just stay my babies forever.


Thirteenth of 30

DAY THIRTY - WHAT'S IN YOUR FRIDGE

Ummm... my fridge is funky so I'm definitely not gracing you with any photos.

We've got the regular inhabitants of ketchup, mustard, mayo as well as banana peppers, lemon juice, lime juice, butter, milk, a couple of left overs, lettuce, carrots, sliced cheese, shredded cheese, a 1/2 pound of sliced turkey, some pepper jack cheese, biscuits, a 12pk of Natural Ice beer, and a 4 pound pork loin that I'm putting in the slow cooker for after tomorrow nights 4th AWAY GAME IN A ROW.  Also... eggnog!  Love me some eggnog and no one else in the house likes it so I can drink it right from the carton. *wink*

Our fridge was in this house when we moved here.  Which means it's several years old. It used to have an ice maker, but that quit working a while back.  It isn't very cold.  It has a leak.  In fact, it actually has a couple of leaks.  One on the outside that we have to keep mopped up.  One on the inside that we have to keep soaked up or the dreaded mold will grow.

Yes, it's gross.  Yes, we hate it.

No, we can't afford to go buy a new one right now.  Hence the mopping and soaking.

My friend Cam introduced me to an Instagrammer, BeeandBabes.  I'm sure you are wondering what this has to do with my refrigerator.  It's because I am completely in love with this woman's house style.  Starting with this image...

Image credit: Instagram user @beeandbabes
Do you see this fridge?!  It's a commercial unit from TRUE.  I die.  Now I MUST HAVE ONE.  I love the glass doors.  Forces you to keep that puppy clean.  I wouldn't need one quite this large, but doing a little research I discovered that a single width refrigerator and a separate freezer would be only slightly more than the side-by-side Samsung that I've been coveting for a while now.  Considering that "slightly" is about $1,000...  Eek!

So let's just pretend like this is what the inside of my fridge looks like!

Twelfth of 30 Days

DAY 12 - YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK

I was in the 4th grade when my teacher, Mrs. Holdcraft, began reading to us from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  It was my introduction to poetry.  I would sit and read this book over and over.

EARLY BIRD
Oh, if you're a bird, be and early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you're a bird, be an early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late.


Eleventh of 30 Days

I'm starting to notice a pattern with this challenge.  It involves lots of lists.  And I'm okay with that because I'm a list maker.

DAY ELEVEN - TEN FAVORITE FOODS

  1. Cheesecake.  I don't play around with cheesecake either.  While that store bought tub might be useful in a pinch, I ALWAYS make mine from scratch.
  2. Cherry RC/Coke.  Never Pepsi.
  3. Corned beef and cabbage.  Every one in the house loves corned beef and I usually have to buy two because they usually only come in around 4 lb roasts.
  4. Chicken noodle soup.  
  5. Reese's.  Pieces, Cups, Fast Break.  ALL THE REESE'S.
  6. Chinese food.  The pork/chicken on a stick, beef and broccoli, mushrooms, pork with mushrooms.  Yum.
  7. Reuben sandwiches.  WITHOUT the Thousand Island dressing.
  8. Pickles, olives, picked okra.
  9. Banana peppers.
  10. BACON. BACON. BACON.

Tenth of 30 Days

Garden of the Gods - Shawnee National Forest - Illinois
DAY TEN - BEST TRIP OF YOUR LIFE

I can't say that I've taken the best trip of my life yet.  We don't do much traveling.  Too expensive. However, I have been to a few places that brought peace to my soul.

One of these places is in the Shawnee National Forest in southeast Illinois, Garden of the Gods. It's in the middle of nowhere and one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  Rock formations are the primary attraction.  These wonders of nature are somewhere in the neighborhood of 320 million years old.  It's just peaceful, serene, and beautiful.

Another place... Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Fort Pickens - July 2012
After visiting in July of last year, we knew this was the place we wanted to visit every year.  And then the Universe decided that it had other plans.  Located on a barrier island just south of Pensacola, we stayed at the Fort Pickens campground for three days.  I've done nothing but think about returning and just lounging on the beach.  There are several things to do in the area, but this was the one thing everybody in the family agreed on.  Rest, relaxation, and salt water.  Pure bliss.


Ninth of 30 Days

And nine days into November, I forget to post.  I'd apologize, but if you don't know how forgetful I am by now, then you haven't been reading long enough!

DAY NINE - WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG/WALLET

  • Keys
  • One of Ro's knitted hats
  • Lotion purchased from a local company, Brynnly Naturals, from the local farmer's market
  • A BumGenius wetbag
  • Two pair of Alva training pants 
  • A wallet
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Strawberry ChapStick
  • Gum
  • A Much Ado About You planner (she's no longer making them... boo)
  • Notebook
  • Library book
  • Usually the phone I took the photo with...