Monday, March 30, 2015

March SFS

Month: March
Carry-Over from February:  negative $1.48
Spent: $7.65 (HAED chart on sale)
Earned: 0
Total over budget:  $9.13

So, I just received the email about what to do if I'm over budget. Basically I don't get that $25 for March since I was $1.48 over at the end of February. Not knowing that was how it would work, I spent an additional $7.65 in March.

So, for April, I need to stitch something worth at least $10 so I can get back on the list for May and June. Won't be easy, since I'm not one to do small pieces, but I found a few options in my stash, which is the point, after all!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekly Progress on 101 Things - March 28-ish edition

OK, another week with not much progress. Here's a wrap-up arranged by category.

Travel - Oregon [nothing]
Travel - Washington [nothing]
Travel - Rest of the World [nothing]


  • Worked on a Scrapscription album (Just Be You).  Will have it finished by next week. Here's a progress picture.

Entertainment and Culture:
  • Read a 50 state book (Vermont).  Review below.
  • Made the Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole.  Had to make some changes (used mozzarella instead of Swiss and didn't have Dijon (could have sworn I did!) so just used regular yellow mustard.
  • Spent some time every day purging work email, and also did a purge of personal. So, I'm counting this one good for Quarter 1, 2015.
  • Cleaned the pantry in February and have kept it organized. Worked on the freezers as well, so I'm considering this one done for Quarter 1, 2015.
  • Read 3 more books
    • The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad.  A dark, psychological thriller set in rural Vermont.  Excellent sense of place (apparently cell phone coverage there is extremely sporadic) and good character development. Former police detective turned private eye Frank Rath is asked to help the police department with a string of disappearances. He brings his own demons to the investigation - his sister and brother-in-law were murdered 18 years ago and he adopted their 6 month old daughter. The murderer is coming up for parole.  If you like dark, noir-like mysteries, I recommend this. I won't reveal the ending, but there had better be a sequel!
    • Bind the Soul (Steel & Stone Book 2) by Annette Marie.  Borrowed this through Kindle Unlimited. Entertaining urban fantasy. Main character is a young woman who is training to be a Consul - a mediator between human and daemons. This time, Piper has to go to Hades to try to rescue one of her daemon companions. Needless to say, this isn't easy and she undergoes considerable hardships. I've already downloaded Book 3.
    • Witching on a Star by Amanda M. Lee.  Book 4 of the Winchester Witches series. Quick fun read about a family of witches in rural Michigan. Interesting characters and a good read when you don't want to think too hard. 
  • Wore fitbit every day this week and made my 10,000 step goal on five out of seven. Had health issues on the two days I didn't make 10,000, so I'm happy with this. I totaled almost 66,000 steps for the week, which was 26.5 miles!
Miscellaneous [nothing]

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blogging A to Z reveal post

So, I just signed up for the Blogging A to Z Challenge. I will really try to stick to this - here's hoping life doesn't get too much in the way!

To get more info about the challenge, visit Blogging from A to Z.

Today is supposed to be the day to reveal your theme, if you are using one.  I think it will be easier for me to blog with a theme, so I'm choosing books/authors (with an occasional TV show - I'm thinking X-Files for that always difficult X).  I've done the alphabet reading challenge a couple of times on LibraryThing, so that will give me some ideas.

Looking forward to meeting some new bloggers and maybe even getting some new followers of my own.

Menu Monday 3/23 - also recap of prior week

Didn't do tons of cooking, but here's a brief review of each (see last week for links and sources):

Cowboy Burgers: These were a hit. Different taste from just regular burgers but good. I broiled rather than grilled, since we're out of propane and it really wasn't grilling weather. Broiling worked just fine.

Baked Blueberry and Banana Oatmeal: Another baked oatmeal hit. I think the bananas were a good addition. Won't make this as often as the triple berry oatmeal (look below - it's on the menu again) but would be good to make when I have a couple of bananas that need using.

Crockpot Chicken and Noodles: Quite the success.  Everyone had seconds (except me) and it is all gone. I thought there might be leftovers for my lunch tomorrow, but nope. Uses frozen noodles, which I've never used before, and they were tasty.

For this week (did shopping for two weeks, so we will just pick and choose from the options below).  I do know that tonight will be the Triple Berry Baked Oatmeal.  I hope there are leftovers for my lunch on Tuesday!

Hop on over to for more meal planning ideas.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weekly Progress on 101 Things - March 21 Edition

OK, so not much progress this week. Boo! Here's a wrap-up arranged by category.

Travel - Oregon [nothing]
Travel - Washington [nothing]
Travel - Rest of the World [nothing]
Crafts [no progress]

Entertainment and Culture:
  • Picked up our Mariners tickets for the two games for this year:  
    • April 25 - Kuma Bear Hat night
    • August 8 - Jamie Moyer Hall of Fame Induction
  • Made the Baked Blueberry and Banana Oatmeal. It was different than I expected but tasty. It's made different than other baked oatmeals I've tried - basically you put the fruit in the bottom of the pan, mix up the dry ingredients and pour those over the top of the fruit, mix up the wet ingredients and pour those over the dry, then put more fruit on top. It all came together nicely and disappeared quickly from the pan. So, I would consider it a success.
  • Read 2 more books
    • Chase the Dark (Steel & Stone Book 1) by Annette Marie.  Borrowed this through Kindle Unlimited. Entertaining urban fantasy. Main character is a young woman who is training to be a Consul - a mediator between human and daemons. Though most of the book, she is accompanied by two daemons - an incubus and a draconian (dragon) - who are helping her in her fight to find her family and clear her name. I don't like giving away much plot in my reviews. Let's just say there is a magic stone that has been stolen and everyone is trying to find it to use for their own purposes. I just downloaded Book 2, so I recommend this if you like fairly dark fantasy.
    • Younger by Suzanne Munshower. Received this for free as one of my two free Kindle books for March. Thriller with medical/philosophical themes. The question is: if a product existed that would safely take 30 years off your appearance, would you use it? Would it change how you saw yourself and how would you feel in the way it changed others treated you? Anna gets some answers to those questions as she eludes the people who want to kill her and get the formula for themselves. A quick read - entertaining enough to spend a couple of days on.
  • Wore fitbit 5 days this week and made my 10,000 step goal on three of those days!
Miscellaneous [nothing, except did add one more goal]

Monday, March 16, 2015

Menu Monday 3/16 - and recap of week

Did pretty well last week - made 3 of the 4 planned meals.  Here's a brief review of each (see last week for links and sources):

Cajun Style Country Fried Pork Steaks: Quite good.  A change of pace from the usual beef country fried steak. A little spice, but not too much. We can get these pork cube steaks fairly cheaply at Wal-Mart, so this one will go in our regular rotation.

Enchilada Pasta Casserole: This was a repeat and goes over well with the family. Not too spicy but a bit of a kick. We don't add the corn or the green chilies, due to personal tastes.

Beef and Bean Oven Tacos: A good meal to feed a crowd. We make quite a few changes from the original recipe. Basically we just make our usual taco filling, add a can of refried beans, put the filling in the shells, top with cheese and bake for 10 minutes. It's good!

For this week:

White Beans with Ham Hock (family recipe)

Cowboy Burgers from Deep South Dish

Baked Blueberry and Banana Oatmeal from The Cookin Chicks

Crockpot Chicken and Noodles from

Lemon Chicken and Potato Bake from The Chunky Chef

Cheesy Grub Sandwiches from Real Mom Kitchen

Hop on over to for more meal planning ideas.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekly Progress on 101 Things - March 14 Edition

Today's report on 101 Things Progress.

  • Re-Read two books.  They don't count for anything on my list - I re-read the first two books by Anne Bishop in The Others series. 
  • Made the recipe plan which was pretty short, since we were gone Thurs-Sat.  The only new cooking was the Cajun Style Country Fried Pork Steaks which were quite tasty and MAN is that a horrible picture. Please gentle reader, don't let my photographs influence you against these meals. The gravy was quite thick - husband just doesn't have gravy down yet. Since he's going back to work on Monday (off since January 7 for hand surgery) the cooking is all falling back on me again (he works second shift). Upcoming gravy will be thinner.
  • Spend the day in Yachats.  DONE.  Thursday was spent mostly traveling. We didn't really start on the road until about noon since we had to visit Mom and have lunch. We used our GPS with the squirrel voice that I've dubbed "Skippy". He had us going to the coast via some odd route that we've never taken before and it added to our time due to traffic, but all was good and we made it to Yachats by 7:30 pm. Our home base for this trip was the Ocean Cove Inn.  The first picture below is the view from the deck outside our room. It was taken Saturday morning when it was raining heavily. However, Friday was a lovely day. We drove down to the Devil's Churn (just about 5 minutes south of Yachats) and Cape Perpetua (see below). We also drove further south to Shore Acres State Park, one of my favorite places to sit and watch the ocean. When the tide is coming in or there are storms, you really can see some amazing waves crashing.

It was good to get away and not worry about work and home responsibilities. We plan on going back in the summer - we really want to get a feel for the area during all the seasons to make sure it's where we want to retire.

I plan on crafting more this week - might even drag out a Scrapscription album to get one of those off my list. Until next time!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Menu Monday - 3/9 (and recap of last week)

Going to change things up a bit.  I'm not sticking very well with cooking certain things on a pre-defined day, so from now on, I'm just going to pick recipes (5 or 6) each week, do the shopping, and decide that morning what's for dinner that night.

Here's the review of last week:

Skillet Mac and Cheese with Polish Sausage:  3.5 stars.  The sausage added a nice texture and taste.  Not the best mac and cheese of all time, but it was certainly easy, especially on a week night.

Chicken Fried Chicken:  4.5 stars. Another winner winner chicken dinner. Breading stayed intact and the chicken was moist. The gravy was not as successful; I think the skillet was too hot and the flour browned too fast. But definitely a make-again.

Monte Cristo Strata: 4 stars. If you try this recipe, ignore the time guidelines. They don't include the 30 minutes sitting time after you pour the milk/egg mixture over the casserole. I'm not sure when I will make this again, since I have about 10 other Monte Cristo variations in my recipe database, but it was good.

Upcoming week's list (only 4 recipes, since we are going on a mini-vacation Thursday-Saturday and will be eating in restaurants along the Oregon Coast.)

Cajun Style Country Fried Pork Steaks from You Will Love It [new]

Enchilada Pasta Casserole from Table for Two [repeat]

Chicken Bacon Alfredo Enchiladas from Inside Bru Crew Life [new]

Beef and Bean Oven Tacos from 5 Dollar Dinners [repeat]

Hop on over to for more meal planning ideas.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekly Progress on 101 Things - March 7 Edition

Today's report on 101 Things Progress.

  • Read two books.  Neither counted towards the 50 state goal, since one was set in California and I've already used that, and the other was in an alternate Earth, so I don't think that counts.  However, they were both excellent (although entirely different).
    • Multiple Wounds by Alan Russell.  Stand-alone psychological thriller about a murder, a woman with multiple personalities (most straight out of Greek mythology), a police detective with a haunted past and a psychiatrist with demons of her own. Interesting, complex and a good mystery to boot. This is my second Russell book, and I am going to search out more.
    • Vision in Silver: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop.  Man, do I love this series!  So much so that I pre-ordered this, the third installment, on August 6, 2014 when I first saw it was available. So much so that after I finished this, I started reading the first one again. It's a hard series to describe, especially without giving away too much of the plot, and I would definitely recommend beginning with the first (Written in Red) but if you like urban fantasy, shape-shifters who are NOT romanticized and a compelling portrayal of an alternate Earth, this is a must for you. 
  • Made the recipe plan, and followed through with some, but there were a couple of days when cooking was just not on the agenda.  A full report will follow tomorrow, but for the 101 Things, we'll talk about the Monte Cristo Strata.  Everyone liked it - quite cheesy, even though I didn't use all that was called for.  Forgot to buy the fresh sage, so used a sprinkle of poultry seasoning instead. Had Fontina cheese that I'd got for a recipe I ended up not making, so used that instead of the Gruyere.  But I DID use Black Forest Ham, which I don't usually buy and I think it was better than regular deli ham.  I might stop showing food pictures, since I clearly have no idea how to photograph food, but here goes:
  • Technically this isn't done yet, but we're going today to pick up tickets for an upcoming Mariners home game.  My son got me a ticket voucher for Christmas, and today is the first day I can exchange it for the actual game. Might also get some for the game on August 8, which is the day Jamie Moyer gets inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Saw Lou Piniella's introduction last year (as well as Edgar Martinez a few years ago). 
Next week will see some of my "Travel Oregon" items done, since we're leaving Thursday morning for a trip to the coast.  We're staying in Yachats, the town where we'd love to retire some day. See you next Saturday!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - 3/2

Here's how last week went:

Ham and Cheese Crescent Bake:  really good!  Creamy and who doesn't love crescent rolls.  Even my daughter who doesn't really like pig enjoyed it.

Frito Pie Enchiladas: don't expect anything like an enchilada if you make this, but it was tasty.

Joan's Chicken Stuffing Casserole:  easy to make and it was OK, but probably won't make again. I'm not a big fan of Stove Top Stuffing.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken: terrific.  Fairly easy to make and quite good. The chicken stayed moist which is often tricky with boneless/skinless chicken breasts.

Simple Taco Burgers: another hit.

As I thought we might, I dropped the mini-meatball mac and cheese.  Just too complicated.

This week:

Monday: Skillet Mac and Cheese with Polish Sausage from Our Table for Seven

Tuesday:  Chicken Fried Chicken from Deep South Dish

Wednesday: Monte Cristo Strata from

Thursday: Cajun Style Country Fried Pork Steaks from You Will Love It

Friday:  Enchilada Pasta Casserole from Table for Two (I have gotten some great recipes from here)

Saturday: White Beans with Ham Hock (family recipe)

Sunday:  Baked White Chicken Spaghetti from Easy Access Recipes

Hop on over to for more meal planning ideas.

Weekly Progress on 101 Things - Feb 28 Edition

So, here's what happened this week in the world of 101 Things:
  • I finished one book.  It was a book that I received through the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing.  If you are a reader (or collector of books like me), I can’t recommend LibraryThing enough.  It’s more than just a way to keep an inventory of your books – it’s great for recommendations, conversations and general book information. I’m owlie13 over there – check out my library!
    • Whiskers of the Lion by P.L. Gaus.  Set in Ohio, this book is part of the Amish-Country Mysteries series.  That sentence contains my main problem with this book.  Often when you jump into a series, you feel a little left out of the loop.  For this entire book, I felt like I was watching part two of a “to be continued” TV show or the second film of a trilogy.  I was expected to care about people I knew nothing about because all their backstory was in the previous episode.  The story itself was interesting, the setting was definitely interesting – I learned quite a bit about Amish culture – but I just had a hard time with feeling like I had missed the first 10 chapters of the story. So, definitely a mixed review.
  • Created my meal plan for the week (see prior post) and made most of the recipes. The one I’m counting as my new recipe for the week was Parmesan Crusted Chicken from Once Upon a Chef.  Delicious!  The chicken was moist, the breading stayed on the chicken, and by pounding the breasts thin and cutting them into smaller pieces, I was able to feed 4 people with 2 (large) breasts.  The fact they were thin also made them cook quite quickly. Another winner that will be added to our regular rotation of dinners.

  • Spent about 2 hours putting more of my Pinterest recipes into Plan to Eat and filling out the missing columns of my spreadsheet.  (201 out of 688 still to add to PTE).

That's it for this week. Come back next Saturday (or Sunday) for another exciting installment!