New Directions

For awhile now I’ve been posting mostly about my granddaughters – Monster and Tiny.  Well, they have now moved to North Dakota with their mom and her new husband.  I’m really happy for their mom (and for them), but very sad for myself because now I don’t get to see them. The girls have been my life for 12 years.  They will always be a part of my life, but now it’s time to move on to other things.

What other things? Well, there’s a question.

I have a ton of interests. Too many really. I’m not really a Type A person, but I always seem to have a dozen different things going on at once. Right now, it’s time once again for Women’s Retreat. Then there’s getting seeds started for the garden in the greenhouse, getting the garden ready for planting in another couple of months, breeding my rabbits and getting ready for (hopefully) a gaggle of little fuzzballs, my step-son is coming out for a couple months to help his dad with projects that he can’t really physically do anymore, getting ready for my first trip to West Virginia this summer, sewing clothes for vacation, taking more herb courses, etc, etc. Sheesh, I need a nap just reading that.

So, I suppose I will just chronicle my days here – at least every so often. Some days are just routine going to work – coming home – doing dinner – lather, rinse, repeat. But, I do try to accomplish some of my goals each week.

Here’s something I’ve talked about before I think – meal planning.

I have a very finicky husband. Ugh. And I know he grew up the same way I did – “eat what’s on your plate or go hungry”. But, I got tired of him not eating what I would fix so I started coming home and asking him what he wanted that night. Bad idea. Mostly because he could rarely come up with an answer lol! So, I’m back to meal planning. But, I found a really cool way to do it.

If you are anything like me you probably have a dozen or more cookbooks and a bajillion recipes stored online and/or ripped out of magazines. I looooove cookbooks. My mom taught me to read cookbooks like they were novels.  But, sometimes that can be sensory overload when you are trying to meal plan.  So, I made a list of all the different meals we like – I aimed for 30 different main dishes.  Then, I wrote each main dish on a small post-it note. I actually used small colored post-it flags.  Those notes went into my planner on a laminated page so they would stick, but be easily moveable. I added some side dishes and a couple desserts to the post-it page as well.

Now on Sundays, I pull out my calendar and my bullet journal and my planner and start planning the next two weeks of meals.  You can do this every week or every month even.  I get paid every two weeks so that’s how I plan. First I look at my calendar to see what I have going on for the next two weeks.  Once a month I spend at the Union Hall for the general membership meeting. I never know how long that will last so I need to plan a crockpot meal for that night. I look on my post-it filled page and pick out something I can throw in the crockpot. That post-it is then moved to my meal planning page which is also laminated. Ok, one meal down 11 more to go.

Wait – what? Did I miscount? Nope. I rarely cook dinner on Sunday night. We eat lunch so late after church we just snack at night if we need anything.

Back to the post-it note meals. I try to mix up what I cook so I don’t do ground meat three nights in a row, and chicken only once a week. I decide what I will have time to cook on a given night, what we maybe haven’t had for a while, what I have an abundance of etc. I pull the appropriate post-it notes off and put them on the appropriate days on my meal planning page. Now, I take my bullet journal (I’ll show that in a later post) and record each days meals on the corresponding date.

One half to one hour of work and I have a major headache out of the way for the next two weeks. This method also helps me when it comes time to make my grocery list.

But what about all those recipes and cookbooks? Oh they still come in quite handy.  When I’m looking for something new to put into the rotation I’ll pull out my books and open up my online recipe program.

That’s it for now. I’m off to find a box for Matilda the rabbit to use for her soon-to-be babies.



My Next Step In Urban Farming

Ever since I was very young I have been totally taken with the idea of “living off the land”, being self-reliant, and every thing that those ideas encompass.  While also being able to regularly visit museums and libraries, attend the ballet and symphony, and mall-crawl.  Yep, I’m weird.  I freely admit it.

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was told by the nefarious county animal control that she had to get rid of most of her animals – goats, chickens, rabbits. All of which were very well cared for and behind a privacy fence. Sigh.  I won’t even go into my opinions on trying to live and get-by and being regulated to death in the process. So, I get a phone call – “Can you take a rabbit? With a cage?”.  Ummm…….how many ways can I say “Heck yeah!!”

I am now the proud “MOM” to Matilda the rabbit.  Matilda will be bred again soon and hopefully produce an abundance of little fuzzballs that will be lovingly tended until it’s time for them to inhabit my freezer.  And/or canning jars.

Bleeding heart PETA supporters – keep your comments to yourself.

My next step is convincing the hubby that we actually DO have room for chickens and a coop.   And set up the worm farm under the rabbit cage. *evil laugh*

The garden has done reeeaaalllyyy well this year.  Well, at least some of the garden has done well.  Tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, turnips, all manner of peppers have exploded.  Beans, radishes, beets, spinach – not so much.  We even, finally, have watermelon and cantaloupe coming along. Happy dance.

That’s life in the big city for ya.  Lol.

Hope your week is going well!

p.s. Yes, I do have season tickets for the ballet this year.  Told ya I was weird.

Coming Up For Air

You know, when a so-called “friend” at work says “You should run for the Secretary/Treasurer position in the Union”, really….just run.  Argh!!  Two days a week I leave work four hours early and head over to the Union hall to pay bills, do the taxes, do the payroll, etc.  Then, once a month is the Executive Board meeting which I have to take notes at (and then transcribe them), and once a month is the Membership meeting which I also take notes for.  Then there’s monthly meetings with Management.  And disseminating information to my peers.  And strike-watch duties.  And informational picket duties.  And out-of-town training and National Convention.  Yeah, I was just supposed to write the checks.  Ha!

In other news, it’s also a bit scary when your church leadership realizes you can teach bible studies.  And head up Women’s Ministries.  And lead a Life Group.  And attend Leadership meetings once a month. And then you foolishly obey God and start going downtown once a month for Outreach.


And let us not forget DAR.  Oh no.  Just because it’s on summer break, don’t think for a minute that the new Regent doesn’t have your email AND your phone number.

I did manage to fit in a vacation. Hallelujah! Grown-ups at Disney World.  Oh yeah.

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Hubby got to drive a race car while we were there.

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We also did Animal Kingdom and I saw my giraffes, elephants, and lions.  Oh my!

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Somewhere in the last seven months I did have opportunities to see my girls too. We had loads of fun at the various museums in town.

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And I finally got my girls up to Boulder to the Celestial Seasonings plant.  They looooove tea.  Yep, that’s my girls!

early 2015 pictures 035Oh! And did I mention the Women’s Retreat?

early 2015 pictures 057Our speaker was phenomenal.  She lived in Israel for several years and has a huge heart for Jews and the nation of Israel.  Not to mention being a brilliant bible teacher.

My very sweet hubby got me a brand-new monster computer that he will be setting up  this weekend.  Three, yes THREE terabytes of memory.  Happy dance!! Do you have any idea just how many pictures and just how much music I can store now?  *evil laugh*

Ok, that’s it for now.  Maaaaybe life will slow down a bit.  Yeah…..right.

Have a great weekend!!


Duly Elected and Sworn-In

Just in time for holiday festivities, I have been elected and sworn-in as the new Secretary/Treasurer for my local Union.

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Yep, I’m the short red-head in the middle lol.

So now, once a month this is my new spot for the evening……taking notes and giving financial report updates.

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It was actually quite flattering to be nominated and elected.  Still, my stealth-mode at work has failed.  Sigh.

Hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season so far.

Spending Some Time With The Girls

Once again life has reared it’s ugly head and kept me from updating here like I should.  I have been extremely busy with Tai Chi, Yoga, Life Groups, Women’s Retreat meetings, Online Classes and just life in general.  However, I have found time to spend with the girls.  And here is some of the proof….

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On Halloween night, the girls and I had a sleep-over at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Night at the Museum!!).  We had a blast!  Monster kept telling me all night long, “Nana this is so much fun!”. The museum staff did a great job with their crafts, ghoulish science experiments, physics tests, food, IMAX and special exhibits.  I have a feeling we will definitely be doing this again next year.

The “blue” pictures are due to the funky lighting the museum had going on in one section.  There are several pictures of the girls building with what looks like popsickle sticks.  They are not.  They are called Keva Planks.  Tiny did NOT want to stop playing with them.  They are little planks of wood that are so perfectly planed that they will stand up on their own and make the perfect building medium.  Hmmmm……she may be getting a bag of those for Christmas.  An architect or engineer in the family would be a good thing.

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I’ve also been replacing some of my winter herbal stock.  I’ve got wild cherry bark tincture, elderberry tincture, and more Double E tincture ready and waiting for the icky season.

That’s all for the moment.  I’ll try to do better keeping up-to-date.

Have a great weekend!!

Busy, Busy, Busy

Once again it only SEEMS like I fell off the edge of the planet.  Nope, just been major busy here.  So, to start off I will give you some pictures.

First up, a day at the Nature and Science Museum with the girls.

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Then, there was Tiny’s 6th birthday.  Yep, she’s 6!!!

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And here’s my funny story from Tiny’s birthday dinner.  We went to a really cool restaurant down in Lakewood.  You choose your entrée, but they bring out a nice variety of sides to serve family-style.  One of those sides is pickled beets.  Well, one of the waiters (we were a huge party) reached next to me to set down one of the bowls.  When he did that I felt something cold and wet hit my head.  I reached up and touched the spot and my had came away wet and pink.  Yep, he had dribbled beet juice in my hair.  Oh well, at least the color matched!  He was so apologetic, but really it was just funny.

I’ve also been busy going to two exercise classes a week.  Yep, me….exercise.  But, I’m really loving my yoga class.  Yes, I am a bit of a masochist to enjoy being twisted into a pretzel for an hour and a half each week.  But, it feels soooo good, once  you untwist lol.  I’ve also started taking Tai Chi.  That class is going much slower since it’s a beginners class, but in a few months I should be able to do the full Yang style 24 Form Short Form from start to finish.  Sigh, right now I feel like a squeaky tin man trying to do the forms.  I will get better!

D.A.R. has started up again for the year. I discovered one of the ladies is from my hometown of Spring!  Small world indeed. I have also been asked to start taking over the Chaplain duties for the chapter.  Wow, that made me feel good.

In other news, I happen to work in a Union shop and voting for new Union positions has begun.  I agreed to accept the nomination for Sec/Treasurer.  However!!  When the nomination ballot came around for me to sign and accept, I discovered I had been nominated not only for Sec/Treasurer, but also for President AND Vice-President.  Now, understand I have NOT been active in the Union in the last several years plus I generally try to keep a low-profile at work.  So who in blue-blazes has discovered who I am that they would nominate me for all THAT!?! Of course I have no idea and the nominations committee won’t tell me.  Needless to say, I only accepted the nomination for Sec/Treas., but wow that was flattering.

I dont’ have any pictures because it cut kind of ugly, but I made another batch of soap and discovered a much easier method than I had been using.  Instead of melting the fats and oils and then having to wait for them to cool down before adding the lye mixture, I added first the fats and then the oils to the lye mixture and let the heat from the lye melt everything down.  I got my soap to trace after only about ten minutes with the stick blender. So much easier.  I made a plain batch this time just to test everything out and like I said it cut ugly because of the container I used as a mold.  But, I plan on making another batch with some fragrance oils and essential oils. Yay!!

That’s it for the moment.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon Vacation

We started our trip early on July 4th.  We headed for Cortez to spend the night.  Yeah, we could have made it all the way to the Grand Canyon in one fell swoop, but we wanted to see Mesa Verde too.  Plus, we really didn’t want to show up for vacation exhausted from the trip to get there.

We only had time to visit one of the cave dwellings before getting back on the road.  Several of the dwellings are only accessed by Ranger led tours which we didn’t have time to wait for either.  However, the one we were able to actually walk down to and investigate was pretty cool.  The top of the cave is still black from cook fires from so many years ago.  Hubby climbed down into one of the kivas.  Not this kid.  My claustrophobia would not have been a pretty thing to witness.  Honestly, I couldn’t imagine being down there with nothing but a fire for light.  *Shudder*.

Mesa Verde:

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Corn grinding station:

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Inside the Kiva

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The rest of the cave dwelling we went into:

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By lunchtime we were back on the road heading for Arizona.  We of course had to stop first at Four Corners (on the way back) for the obligatory picture standing in four states at once.

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(May I just insert something here…..I appreciate the Native Americans in my family, but…….getting through the Navajo Nation was killer!  Sorry y’all, but it was like driving through Kansas….without the cornfields.  Oh my.)

We made it to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon just after lunch.  We stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge which is just steps from the rim of the Canyon.  The lodge itself is old, but it’s been updated and is very nice.  The beds were so comfortable I wanted to find a way to bring them home.

vacation 2014 noelle 10th birthday 048vacation 2014 noelle 10th birthday 052Those two pictures were taken just out the back door of the lodge.  Yep, right on the rim.  Watch yer step!!

Some random pictures of the canyon from the Rim Trail.

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Hermit’s Rest

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I covet this fireplace

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On Tuesday of our trip we went whitewater rafting.  This involved getting up at 3a.m. and driving to Peach Springs on the Hualapai reservation.  The Hualapai run a one day rafting trip and we took advantage of it.  I don’t have many pictures of going through the rapids because I was too busy holding on for dear life!  In fact, on the fourth rapid we went over we hit it sooooo hard that 5 of the 8 people in the raft ended up in the bottom of the raft.  Oh yeah, that was fun. Lol.

getting ready to board the bus for the trip down to the launch site

getting ready to board the bus for the trip down to the launch site

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We were on the river about 5 hours before we offloaded to catch our flight out of the canyon.

vacation 2014 noelle 10th birthday 120Hubby says helicopters were never meant to fly.  They merely beat the air into submission.  Sooooo, I can mark THAT off the bucket list.

We relaxed and hiked a bit the rest of our stay.  We even went to church one evening on the rim.

vacation 2014 noelle 10th birthday 149I enjoy my normal contemporary worship services, but a few hymns every now and then never hurt anyone either.  We met fellow Christians from all over the country as well as Scotland and Germany.  Way cool.

The only thing we were not able to do was the mule ride.  But here’s some pictures of the trail they take and the mules ready for the trail.

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Our last day there we were able to see some Native dancers perform.

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It was a wonderful week.  It was very relaxing with just the right amount of busy.

I hope everyone is having a great week.


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