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Insomnia is a real thing. Fortunately I only experience this demon under three conditions:

evening before menses,

after extreme successes,

when my Husband is out of town.

This time was a lovely combination of all three; the first and third being obvious and the second being the tremendous success I had in finally completing the Last Task about 8p. The Last Task not being the enchiladas.

I read and visited with the youngest child. I tidied the kitchen. I enjoyed two vodkas in celebration of my success. I knitted by the fire. I took melatonin. I took valerian. I flipped through a catalog. I played sudoku. I took more melatonin. I took more valerian. It was still only 1034p. So I kept playing sudoku. Not well.

At this point all three dogs and one child were in the bed. In an effort to move a limb I reloaded the fire with wood.

Reaching for more melatonin and thinking about how a little snack at 2a would be delicious, I decided on a pretzel. I turned to the kitchen pantry and *ding*ding*ding* there in all its dimmed kitchen light glory was the nespresso machine gifted to us Christmas before last. And immediately I wanted coffee.

Grateful for our opportunities and my thriftiness, I slipped an espresso cup from its copper wire support still sticky from the yellow Maxx for the minimum clearance tag ($2 for the set of four, thank you very much), and added to it a dash of amaretto, filled it with a decaf ristretto from the gifted machine, and topped it with a wee splash of coffee liqueur. Coffee, liquor. Pretty damn dreamy at 2a on a Wednesday with a full day behind me and full day ahead of me.

So I took this photo in the event this experiment panned out. And I think it did. I do not recall the clock passing 221a. But then again, maybe it was the fresh 25F air breathed in when bringing in firewood. No less, I am grateful.

I am not sure I want a pair of white pants. I think I recall Clinton and Stacy saying that they don’t work well for broad-beamed girls.

But I do really want them. And just like this blogger I know I would look fantastic in them paired with a 3/4 sleeve nautical striped tee and Sperrys. Even with a white wine spritzer and I don’t care for white wine.

But, being Southern, or more importantly, being raised by Southern grandmothers at every corner of my life, I know white pants are like white shoes. They don’t make an appearance until after Easter.

I can’t say why. Unless it’s like a cross emblem with no dead Jesus…it’s a symbol of the purity of Christ’s blood for me. It’s a stretch, but that’s all I have…

This post from Frugally Sustainable begins with this quote:

“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” – Donald Horban

Quality in life is far greater than quantity in life. In my opinion…

It’s just now starting to sleet here good. The weather should turn to snow soon. It’s a pretty exciting thing to get snow down here in the south. And our first shot at it this winter.

We have a Hee-Haw DVD playing. Cathy Barton and Kenny Rogers are guests. Such good fun this is.

I’ve been taking a break from knitting (Rebekah Anne’s shawl !) by winding what yarn wasn’t tangled in the kids’ yarn basket.


Good thing we visited The Twisted Knitter yesterday and the kids each chose a new skein of yarn. There ain’t much in that big basket!

Yesterday I made my BBQ sauce and slaw and then I cooked a picnic shoulder overnight. So dinner’s done! And I doubled my BBQ sauce recipe and put up 4 pint jars and 1 quart jar of the sauce. Canning makes me very happy.


Something I’ve been canning a lot of lately is my Elderberry Syrup. I offer it to my local folk for $8 pint. It’s good for all kinds of things including colds, allergies, and blues. A quick google search will lead you to lots of recipes and information. Right now I use all organic ingredients except for fresh ginger root and local honey. Hopefully I will find good organic sources for those, too, soon.


And now … in the very short time I took to write this post, it is snowing… I suppose now we really should assess our ski gear. Which will of course be just sledding gear. Until lunch tomorrow when it’s all melted. A perfect snow.



Tackle It Tuesday Meme

It’s quite amazing how just adding blogging adds to my day. Just the simple act of stopping to spill my brain for a few minutes.

Well, it’s Tackle It Tuesday and I originally posted how my goal was going to be listing at least ten lots on eBay. But that’s changed. I’ll still aim to get the lots done, but now I am aiming for five. Because I plan to read instead.

The oldest two have had the opportunity for an impromptu dissection of a fresh deer brain, heart, and trachea. How cool is that? A super cute, hip lady with deer stuff laid out over her cute, hip home. Cool! So they’ll be spending their morning otherwise occupied. That leaves me the three little ones.

And I think we’ll go back to bed until lunch. And they can read to me. They can practice reading aloud to me while I rest my sinus-swelled head. How lovely! Stopping is a challenge for me, so I truly am having to Tackle this.

Once the olders return home, and lunch is made, I’ll make the cheese straws for a meeting and post a few listings to eBay. After I am read to.

Happy Tuesday!

This week as I participate in ‘s Menu Plan Monday, I am also returning to blogging after a two week break as well as offering a brief review of a book. Aren’t I talented?

SO, this new fascination with a book, as usual, started at the library. Yes, yes… I know. Government money. I’ve never called myself independent of the government and no, I do not believe public libraries are a necessary government expense. What I do know is that most, at least where I have lived, libraries are nearly fully funded by the communties in which they exist. Yes, they do receive some state and federal money, generally through grants. Mostly, however, the county and city governments fund them. And this is how the “extras” (including welfare hand outs) should be – decided by and funded by the communities served by the extra. Not by those miles and miles away. So, in short, if our public library were to shut down tomorrow, I would not be upset. Disappointed, sure. But not upset. And I *do* believe individuals would/will work out their own lending library system much like several homeschool communities already have.

Oh, look… I digressed into public policy. How’d that happen? Wow. So…anyways…
We were at the library and I like to check out the “new” books shelves. And, because I *do* judge books by their covers, I saw this almost monochrome spine with the words “The Stocked Kitchen” on it. Well, I do like a stocked pantry, so I picked it up. And began a love affair.

The Stocked Kitchen by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins is 300+ recipes for appetizers, breakfast/brunch, soups, side dishes, main entrees, and desserts ALL made from a single grocery list that does not contain a lot of obscure ingredients. So the concept is that a person keeps the grocery list (it even comes with tear-out grocery lists) on hand and then can make a lot of different recipes on the fly. And it’s true. The recipes are easy, quick, and simple. The 10 – 15 I have tried thus far required few ingredients, and were so quick to make, that I actually had to THINK of ways to stall the process so that I could use the crock, or prepare ahead. And let me share… They even have a FREE iPhone/iTouch app with the list in it. No kidding.

Here are the recipes we have tried and the feedback from the family:

  • Italian Stew (sans pasta), a new family favorite.
  • Spinach Lasagne (I have a recipe, but I tried theirs), good, but not Momma’s
  • Ham and Cheese Bites, “Can we have the ham and cheese things again?”
  • Sweet & Sour Stew, a new family favorite
  • Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, yum!
  • Cinnamon French Toast Bake, best french toast bake I’ve ever made AND kids ALL ate it.
  • Asian Lettuce Wraps, made with lettuce from our garden, delicious!
  • Bacon-Wrapped Ranch Chicken Salads, very popular and often requested
  • Pigs In a Blanket Pancakes, curious, probably won’t try again
  • Cheesy Chicken Chili, kid favorite, Husband and I think it’s “OK”
  • Black Bean Strata (a breakfast dish), a favorite of Husband, kids think it is “OK”
  • Cinnamon Roll Loaf, yummm!
  • Hummus, better than any I’ve ever made
  • Empanadas with Cajun Aioli, Must.Have.Again.Soon.

And there are a few others, but they are not recorded for some reason.

Now, I am not an “all-in-one” kind of gal, so I cannot abandon all my other goods for this one system alone. And I won’t switch from dried beans to canned beans, etc… What I can say, though, is that I did buy this book from Amazon (for$16.15, it retails for $24.99) and it is no doubt going to be worth it. And I don’t even BUY cookbooks anymore. There’s already so much online already. So… This book is worth every penny for me. It certainly makes meal planning easier because I know I will have MOST Of this stuff on hand because these recipes are made without expensive-hard-to-find-one-use ingredients like tahini. And I can handle that.

Oh, and no. I am not being paid to write this review. This is my honest opinion. I have marked all of The Stocked Kitchen’s recipes with TSK after the name. So, see if your library has this book and give some of these recipes a whirl.


breakfast – flop and eggs

lunch – mac-n-cheese

dinnerChicken Jafrezi wtih Naan and basmati rice



breakfast – cereal

lunch – Asian Lettuce Wraps TSK

dinner – Cheesy Chicken Chili TSK (in the crock) with Cheddar Chili Roll-Up Bread TSK


breakfast – rosemary eggs, biscuits

lunch – sandwiches, fruit

dinner – Ham, Potato, and Corn Chowder TSK (in the crock)


breakfast – Potato Pancakes TSK (prep the night before)

lunch –Peanut Noodles TSK

dinner – Asian Black Bean Chili TSK (in the crock)


breakfast – cinnamon raisin roll-up bread TSK

lunch – sandwiches

dinner – homemade pizza!


breakfast – ham biscuits

lunch – Curry Tomato and Rice Soup TSK

dinner – grilled chicken sandwiches, chips


breakfast – pancakes, bacon, eggs

lunch – sandwiches, leftovers

dinner – homemade pulled pork BBQ, slaw

The main groceries we visit each have what I call the “bent meat shelf.” It’s where the meat products that are about to expire live until they must be trashed. There are often lots of goodies including antibiotic-free chicken, the perfect cuts of beef for jerky, and even occasionally, deli meat.

I figure that as long as it is purchased before the “by” date and frozen immediately when we get home, it’s good. And we’ve yet to get sick that way, so I’ll keep on buying meat that way. Easily, 1/2 of the meat we eat comes from the bent meat shelf. Some days there’s nothing and some days it’s a jackpot. I just won’t buy fish that way.

Well, for tonight’s meal, I had only planned “crock pot” in hopes that what I wanted would go on special or be found on the bent meat shelf. I’ve used our reserve and so I was truly hopeful. And sure enough, Sunday, *voila*! Whole cut up chickens and split breasts were on the bent meat shelf. The good chicken, too. The two whole chickens were put in the freezer and the split breasts were grilled that night.

The leftover meat from the breasts was used in the Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas for last night, which are delicious and best when made with homemade enchilada sauce, and dried black beans rather than canned. I wouldn’t typically want to use chicken again tonight. But I wanted less to go to the grocery this morning.

So last night I took one of the whole chickens and set it in the fridge to defrost some and this morning I put it in the crockpot for insanely good Adobo Chicken. It’s so easy. It’s a recipe from, but I’ll post it here, too. It’s just that easy.

We’ll bake rice in the oven, add a spinach salad and enjoy a fresh, easy meal tonight together.

Slow-Cooker Adobo Chicken
by Adrienne Lapp as posted here on

1 small sweet onion, sliced
8 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4c soy sauce
1/2c vinegar
1 whole chicken, cut up

Place chicken in slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Oven Rice

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a casserole dish, put rice and the normal amount of water you’d use on the stove. (for example, the stove requires 2c water to 1c rice) If using brown rice, use 1.5 times the normal amount of water.

Add either a bouillon of vegetable, beef, or chicken stock or add one packet of Lipton onion soup mix. We prefer Better than Bouillon Vegetable. Dot with butter, cover with foil, or a lid.

For white rice, bake for 30 minutes. For brown rice, bake for one hour. Perfect results every time. And easy clean-up.



OK. I’ll confess. I like ‘s Menu Plan Monday. I like it because I am forced to think ahead. I like it because it makes shopping ridiculously easy even with all the kids in tow.  (Who will hold the coupons? The shopper cards? My reusable bags? I need minions!) And most of all, I like having ONE LESS THING ABOUT WHICH TO THINK. Yes, I’ve done some rearranging. Last week, we had pizza on Thursday and roast on Saturday. Who cares? I had all the stuff because I shopped according to the plan! So… this week, I’m-a gonna-go-a-go-a-wild-a and toss in a few desserts. We don’t eat dessert every night. But it’s nice to have some… I probably shouldn’t be doing this extra this week since I have a bunch of study coaching/SAT Prep sessions, but… I’m a wild woman… *le sigh* And next week, I just might start adding recipes.


breakfast – scrambled egg, cheese, bacon burritos

lunch – pasta salad

dinner – smoky beef and corn soup

(Monday Night Football – wings, tortilla chips, dip, carrot cake)



breakfast – oatmeal with fruit

lunch – mac-n-cheese, salad

dinner – taco salads



breakfast – cinnascones

lunch – chicken salad and veggies (PICNIC!)

dinner – chicken noodle soup (slow cooker), biscuits

dessert – graham cracker cookies



breakfast – peanut butter toast, fruit smoothies

lunch – sandwiches, fruit

dinner – bean and cheese burritos (made with beans cooked on Sunday!), rice, salad



breakfast – biscuits, bacon, eggs

lunch – chef salads with homemade croutons (I’m teaching the kids how to make the croutons!)

dinner – steak, potatoes, more salad (from the garden? very possibly!)

dessert – lemon curd and lime curd, with preserves we canned



breakfast – breakfast cookies (I promise I’ll post this recipe by Wednesday!)

lunch – tailgating (GO PHEONIX!), TBD (but you know it’ll be gooood)

dinner – beans (slow cooker), cornbread



breakfast – waffles, eggs, sausage

lunch – leftovers/sandwiches

dinner – crockpot roast, okra, corn pudding, salad

dessert – coconut cake


Here's, what? Week Four of posting to Organization Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday…

At last I am able to swallow which is helpful for eating and drinking. Staying upright at length is still a challenge, but I like challenges.

The benefits of meal planning a couple of weeks ahead sure were helpful last week as we returned from a long weekend away and my being sick at the same time.

No, my Husband and children didn’t follow the meal plan to a tee. That’s not the point. The point is, there was food in the house, and a plan with which to follow it if desired. Now, I realized one very lacking component. Recipes. Not that anything I make is complicated, but I believe I will now add recipes in the menu section of my binder behind the current week’s menu plan. That would have been even better.

So, as I lay out this week’s menu, I am so very grateful to my Husband for his care and comfort when I was feverish, funky, and generally less than pleasant at times. I am also grateful to our children who did not destroy the house, who were quiet allowing me to rest, and for knowing how to cook. I’m not sure who taught them, but they know how.

breakfast – oatmeal, fruit, juice
lunch – chef salads
dinner – meatloaf, potatoes, cabbage, MNF treats

breakfast – peanut butter toast, smoothies
lunch – sandwiches, celery, carrots, apples
dinner – TBD, you’ll know why tomorrow

breakfast – granola, milk, juice
lunch – pasta w herbs, salad
dinner – whole chicken, herbed rice, sauteed okra, salad

breakfast – cinnamon rolls (handmade), juice
lunch – open faced tuna melts, tomatoes
dinner – crock pot pintos, cornbread, creamed spinach

breakfast – cold cereal, juice
lunch – picnic on the porch, sandwiches, salads
dinner – pizza, salad

breakfast – breakfast bake, juice
lunch – leftovers/sandwiches
dinner – steak, potatoes, salad, bread

breakfast – biscuits, eggs, sausage, bacon, juice
lunch – chef salads
dinner – baby back ribs, beans, rice, slaw


Will I regret this? I do make menu plans. But they so often change. Because it’s not what my Husband wants or the weather suggests something different… Pick a reason. I’ve used it.

I’m going to do my best to stick to this plan. So determined, am I, that I am bravely joining in Organization Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday meme. Wish me luck!

Oh. And since we learn at home, I plan three meals a day, not just one. And, I cook from scratch. The only thing from a box on this menu is “cold cereal.” I’ll figure it out one day, too.

B’fast – oatmeal with peaches, boiled eggs, juice
Lunch- leftovers/sandwiches
Dinner – crockpot roast, potatoes, salad

B’fast – peanut butter toast, fruit smoothies
Lunch – tuna salad sandwiches, tomatoes
Dinner – chicken noodle soup, salad

B’fast – cold cereal, juice
Lunch – hominy and milk, tomatoes
Dinner – meatloaf, squash casserole, sauteed okra

B’fast – Rosemary eggs, toast, juice
Lunch – Mac & Cheese, tomatoes & cucumbers
Dinner – grilled chicken sandwiches, chips

B’fast – peach flop, juice
Lunch – pb & jam or honey sandwiches
Dinner – grilled filet, corn on the cob, tomatoes, salad

B’fast – breakfast cookies, juice
Lunch – leftovers/sandwiches
Dinner – Grilled burgers & dogs, home fries

B’fast – waffles, bacon, eggs, fruit smoothies
Lunch – quesdillas, tomatoes
Dinner – pizza

I would like the record to reflect that this is completely overwhelming and I feel very boxed in as a result of posting this. Perhaps it will be a wonderful gift I’ve given myself and my family…

ADDED NOTE – I appreciate all the concern that I don’t know what I am doing. I actually do. As I said in my post, I have been planning meals for years. I just don’t always stick with the plans. The sticking with them part is the part tying a noose around my neck. I shop from my plans, prep in advance, and I don’t waste, so everything is used and is economical and very balanced and healthy. With the exception of the dogs and chips… Thank you for being concerned for me. And keep cheering me on. I still don’t like having it in writing!