Sunday, March 30, 2008

Memory Verse

Psalm 34:1, New International Version

I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One More Try

No success last month, so this month I'm once again trying some medication to encourage ovulation. What I discovered the last time I tried this pill is that it makes me fairly ill; miserably crampy and bloated and headachy and dizzy. Fantastic sounding, isn't it?

If you read this and would be willing, please pray for me:
  • that the side effects aren't so bad this time
  • that we conceive :)
  • that if we do conceive, we have a healthy pregnancy & child
  • that if we don't conceive, that I have peace about it; I've noticed some months I do and other months I really struggle with disappointment and guilt and grief even.
  • that if we don't conceive, that L also has peace about it; he's also struggling with disappointment
Thank you so much!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Italian beef and beans over pasta

Tuesday - Tomato soup. Because I didn't have it last week.

Wednesday - nothing planned / sandwiches or something similar.

Thursday - New Mexico style pizza. Also because I didn't have it last week.

Friday - Spicy black beans and polenta.

Saturday - nothing planned / sandwiches or something similar.

Sunday - L is having a fantasy baseball draft at the house & there will be about 12 guys over. I think we're going to have hot dogs & nachos, but still need to confirm that with L. If that is the case, this is the chili con queso I'm making for the nachos.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Memory Verse

Philippians 3:10, New International Version

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Winter Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

It's officially Spring, so that definitely means that the Winter Reading Challenge is officially over. How did I do?

I've been updating all along at my original post - crossing out books as I finish them and I've even added some that I hadn't originally planned. I didn't finish a couple that turned out to bee too reference-like for me to want to just read them straight through. I read a lot more of the Bible than I'd originally planned. It just felt right.

I always hate trying to pick favorites among books so I won't even try. But I will repeat how much I adore Sharon Newman's Catherine LeVendeur series. In case that's not obvious from my original post.

For more wrap-ups, go to A Joyful Heart's blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Have a Problem.

I am addicted to Cadbury Creme Eggs. All my talk of trying to eat healthier, and respecting my body and what I put in it, blah blah blah, it all gets ignored even more than normal once I spot those little "cartons" on the shelf.

And I've learned not to get the miniature ones, because although that seems like a better choice (built-in portion control and all that), it turns out the smaller size is just not satisfying enough so I find myself cracking open one or two or six. The regular size I can limit myself to one a day.

But it is every day. From whenever I first spot them on the shelf until I run out of my stash. And my stash gets replenished whenever I see them at the store. Usually, it ends up being about a month, but that's still an entire month of me eating one of those things every day. Each egg? Turns out to be 150 calories, but it's also the 5 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugars and nothing whatsoever redeeming about it.

And if you know of a source for these goodies beyond the Easter season?
Please, for the sake of my pant-size, please don't tell me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • My mother-in-law, who I thought was arriving Friday night, actually arrives Saturday night. While me including this as something for which I'm thankful might seem like I don't like my m-i-l, that is not the case. Just logistically (airport pickup) it's easier, and I have a friend coming into town that day who I haven't seen in almost a year, so now I don't have to feel like I'm ignoring my m-i-l to see my friend, or vice versa (although it would have been the former).

  • I've arranged for a day off tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a day without commuting, and a day when I can hopefully get some projects accomplished around the house. Although I'd be happy with just getting the guest room usable again (see above for the reason).

  • I finally got my insurance stuff straightened out so I could renew my allergy prescription. I was down to my last few so this is a very good thing. Allegra has made my job manageable (severe dust allergies make my employment location a poor fit for me), as well as just living in the midwest with whatever it is in the air around here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Leftovers. I made pot roast yesterday and there is still a mountain left.

Tuesday - Greek Tacos. Which I've been looking forward to for over a week.

Wednesday - nothing planned / sandwiches or something similar.

Thursday - New Mexico style pizza. I think it's only called that because it has lots of green chilis.

Friday - Tomato soup. Possibly the recipe by Pioneer Woman, possibly the herbed tomato soup version I saw in a Light & Tasty magazine a few months back.

Saturday - Out for a late lunch with visiting family. We probably won't be hungry for much for dinner. That usually means popcorn or cereal for both of us. :)

Sunday - Easter. We're actually going to a buffet; first time for me for that. I'll probably end up needing to fix a dessert to take along for the afternoon visit that I'm sure will stretch into the evening, but that's easy enough.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie.

Memory Verse

Proverbs 15:1, New International Version

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • That huge project at work is actually going to get done on time. Really, the only part that HAD to be done is already done, and a secondary part that didn't 100% need to be finished should be done by the end of this week. I say "should be" because who knows, I could get sick and not be able to finish it, but unless something unexpected pops up, it'll be done.

  • My boss is out of town for the week, which makes the above point much more likely to happen. She's known for springing things on me that must be done immediately and pushing aside anything else I'm working on. I feel mean for saying I'm glad she's gone, but it's not because I don't like her. I just get more done when she's not around. :)

  • The weather is supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow. Perhaps our long winter is finally coming to a close.

  • I have a car that gets good gas mileage, which I appreciate more and more as gas prices continue to climb.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Making My Home a Haven

Cleaning the kitchen thoroughly is my big cleaning goal for March.

Then Monica posted about Spring Cleaning her kitchen.

Then Crystal had her Making Your Home a Haven Challenge for the week to Spring Clean your kitchen.

I think I should work on my kitchen.

So instead of waiting for the weekend which I really wanted to do, I worked for about 45 minutes on the kitchen tonight. I managed to:
  • wash a bunch of dishes (all from dinner & a dessert I made)
  • clean off the kitchen table & put away the stuff that had gathered there.
  • clean the window and windowsill and the items on the sill
  • wipe down the front of the dishwasher & oven
  • decrumb the toaster & wipe it down
  • wipe down the trashcan

I got a start on cleaning the cabinet fronts, & light fixtures but didn't finish them.

I'll keep working off my list the rest of this week & see how much progress I can make before the weekend.

Menu Plan

Monday - baked potato soup. Made with leftovers from Sunday.

Tuesday - chili. L's request.

Wednesday - nothing planned / sandwiches or something similar.

Thursday - chicken of some sort. I'm thinking with mushrooms and diced tomatoes right now but I may change my mind later. L isn't crazy about chicken (major understatement there) but if there's a lot of sauce with the chicken it's better.

Friday - herbed tomato soup. The recipe is from the February/March issue of Light and Tasty (now Healthy Cooking), but I can't find it on their site.

Looking ahead to next week, I really really think I'm going to have to try these Greek Tacos. They sound sooo good. I don't want chili & tacos in the same week, even if the seasoning isn't similar, so that's why the tacos are having to wait.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Memory Verse

2 Timothy 3:16, New International Version

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Friday, March 7, 2008

Books of the Week

Since I've been doing such a spectacular job of keeping up with my week in books, I've decided to give myself a break and just pick back up with this and ignore the huge backlog of undocumented weeks. It just wasn't going to happen. And I'm giving up on attaching images of the books; with my computer it was just taking forever and making me dread the whole idea of posting about books. So I'll just limit myself to Amazon links. Go there if you want to see the covers.

One of my favorite recently-finished books were Rick Beyer's The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy. This was a great lunch-time read - short little snippets of interesting facts that I could set down easily when (note: not if) my lunch break was interrupted by my boss needing something, and I could still easily pick back up where I left off and not struggle to get back involved in the text.

I have definitely learned that some books are not suited for lunchtime reading. It's too noisy, with too many interruptions to read anything requiring much deep thought or brainpower. This book was perfect - two pages to each topic and most of the bits of trivia were new to me. I think I may look for the others of that sort.

My other recent favorite book was Kirby Larson's Hattie Big Sky. The local library system classifies it as a juvenile book, but I think it's more of a young adult work, just without a lot of the swearing, drinking, s*x, etc. of so many contemporary ya books. I sound like a cranky old person, and I don't think I am, but I don't think that a lack of those things automatically makes a book geared for a younger audience. Hattie Big Sky had some difficult themes and a teenaged protagonist, so a teenaged audience doesn't seem unreasonable to me. My ex-librarian-self is coming out I think.

Back to the book itself, it's about a 16-year old orphan (don't get me started on orphans in childrens & young adult fiction) who inherits her uncle's homestead and travels to Eastern Montana to try and prove up on the claim herself. It's set in 1918, and so the homefront during WWI is a theme as is the influenza epidemic. What I found most fascinating is that the author based the story on her own family history; her great grandmother really did homestead alone as a teenager. What an amazing story.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Computer Aggravations

I'm having trouble getting connected to the internet with my computer. Our wireless network was knocked out the other day when we lost power for a few hours, and then even when L got home and got it restarted, my computer still won't connect. My other computer will, which is how I'm posting this.

Yes, I have two computers. One's a PC and the other is a Mac. I'm "in the process"* of switching from the PC to the Mac, and all my music and photos are on the Mac, as are most of my files. Any Excel spreadsheets are on the PC as is Quicken. Someday I'll get it all moved over but days like this I'm glad to still have both.

This is exactly why I had to talk L into me getting a Mac - he's an IT guy, but he only knows PCs, not Macs, so he was concerned about being able to give technical support if anything happened. I kept pointing out the articles about how trouble-free Macs are. And it has been, mostly, it's just this wireless connection that won't automatically reconnect. The Airport has forgotten it's password, and even though I'm entering in the password it's saying it's not correct. I just don't know.

It's driving me nuts because all blog surfing is usually done from the Mac. Although blog posting is done from the PC, but that's another complaint for another day.

I dread telling L it's still not working because he is just NOT going to want to have to hassle with it. I keep hoping I can figure it out on my own, but so far no success.

*I put in the process in quotes because it's, um, been a few months. If I stretch the definition of a few very liberally. What can I say, I really do find some advantages to having the two. And there's room for both on my computer desk. :)

Several days later, I told L that it still wasn't working (he'd had a couple challenging days at work and I didn't want to stress him out more). After a couple of attempts, it turns out that it was just that the Mac had forgotten the wireless network password, and the password I knew for it is apparently a secondary password. It needed the primary one which is about 24 digits long and a random assortment of letters and numbers and capitalizations. So once he gave that to me it's worked fine. Yay! I'm back to both of them working.

Now I just need to get the Mac to play nicely with Blogger.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • A safe drive home yesterday; the roads were exceptionally bad and there were a number of accidents, none of which involved me thankfully.

  • My coworkers and I are making steady progress on that huge project that must
    be done by the end of next week. I'm starting to think we might actually make it.

  • Piano is going very well. I was really stuck for a while (hmmm, during the same time period as when I was so sick) and making no progess but I've had a tiny breakthrough and some songs that seemed impossibly hard are now not so difficult. This really makes me happy.

  • I actually followed my schedule last night. I so often end up wasting my evening doing who knows what but last night I pulled out the timer and it kept me on track, which allowed me to get to bed on time. It also made for a much easier time waking up than I've been having. Amazing how that works. Hope to continue that the rest of this week.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Making My Home a Haven: Dealing with Piles of Paper

Well, I've already confessed my paper issues. So when Crystal designated today's Making Your Home a Haven Challenge task to tackle a pile - be it laundry or mending or paper, it should be no surprise that I knew I needed to concentrate on paper.

I set my timer for 30 minutes and first concentrated on the floor of my office, because I think the most contributes to the room looking like a disaster area. In only a few minutes, 3 piles were gone and the floor was mostly picked up (my pile of tax papers is still on the floor waiting for me to get to work on it). Since I still had time, I next went to work on my desk, which had piles on both sides of the keyboard, as well as the back corner. How does this happen so fast???

When the timer rang, I had gone through all the mail and pitched most of it, and had a small pile to deal with (mostly bills to pay). I took a brief break and gathered the trash, then set the timer for another 30 minutes. I finished paying bills and reconciling bank statements with only a few minutes to spare, so I did a little more tidying then called it good. For now at least. The desk still looks kind of bad, but at least I'm not stressed about bills lurking in the mail pile.

I think what I most need to do to get a better handle on my office paperwork is just to work at it every day for 15 minutes or so, rather than letting it pile up and become a tower. I think this week I'll try to spend that time every night and see if it makes a difference in the overall state of my office and stress level.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday - Beef with Dilled Onion Gravy. In the slow cooker of course. I love dill, and had the last of the fresh dill I bought last week to use up, so this one is perfectly timed.

Monday - Southwest Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup. A new recipe but man it sounds good. Actually, I'm fixing it in the slow cooker Sunday and then reheating it Monday, so that should make for a super easy night. The hardest part will be finding room in the fridge for the entire container of soup.

Tuesday - Hungarian Goulash. Another new one. Hope L likes it!

Wednesday - Nothing specifically planned. We just never need something every night; sandwiches or spaghetti or pizza are always good fill-ins if we don't have enough leftovers.

Thursday - Macaroni and Cheese. Because I love it.

Friday - Black Bean Soup. I need to get my soup fix in while the weather is still cold enough for L to eat soup. Once it warms up, it'll be on hiatus again until next fall. And I will be very very sad.

Saturday - Once again, nothing specifically planned. We often go out for lunch on Saturdays so we're not that hungry for dinner.

Sunday - Beef Burgundy. In the slow cooker, of course.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie

Memory Verse

Jeremiah 33:3, New International Version

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Goals

Highest priority for the month:
  3. Send in FSA reimbursement
  4. Deposit checks
  5. Work on correspondence course*
  6. Backup Quicken & other computer data
  7. Make 2008 files
  8. February financials done
  9. Go over Feb financials & March budget with L
  10. Menu plan for month
  11. Return LE items

*Notice I didn't list finishing the course this month. I'm not sure how long other things (like taxes) will take so I'm not wanting to set myself up to fail. As long as I work on it a bit I'll be happy.
Maybe do, if above gets completed first:
  1. Hook up new printer
  2. Archive Quicken
  3. Goodwill run
  4. Send family vacation pics
  5. Pick color for panels in bathroom
  6. Buy new bath mat
  7. Look for pictures or something for bathrooms
  8. Look for/figure out window treatment for bathroom
  9. Burn disc for C with bathroom remodel photos
  10. Inventory bathroom, bedroom & closet
  11. Inventory kitchen & laundry
  12. Call or email A
  13. Download inventory software
  14. Books ready to donate

And some specific cleaning tasks, all in the kitchen and laundry:
  1. sweep thoroughly
  2. mop thoroughly
  3. decrumb toaster
  4. decrumb toaster oven
  5. clean fridge
  6. clean freezer
  7. vacuum fridge coils
  8. declutter cabinets
  9. clean out pantry
  10. clean out baking cabinet
  11. declutter laundry closet
  12. vacuum lint trap
  13. clean microwave
  14. clean dishwasher
  15. clean oven
  16. clean washer
  17. clean dryer
  18. declutter recipe binder
  19. clean windows (including sills)
  20. clean doors (including frame)
  21. clean light fixtures
  22. clean countertops thoroughly
  23. clean table thoroughly (don't forget legs!)
  24. clean baking cart thoroughly
  25. clean baseboards
  26. clean trash can
  27. update to do/to buy list
  28. update inventory

Review of February's Goals

To recap, my goals for February. So how did I do?

  • Major cleaning done in the bedroom
  • It hadn't been an official goal, but I also got a lot of other cleaning done throughout the house. It ended up being something I hadn't realized would need to be done, but it certainly did thanks to the remodel
  • 2 1/2 bathrooms mostly remodeled (thus requiring the extra cleaning mentioned above). You'd better believe I'm counting this as a success.

Giving myself a pass:
  • Decluttering closets and dressers. This is in progress, and I'm making very very good progress. But it's not done, so it's not getting crossed off.
  • Most of the things that required brainpower. Our noisy houseguests + major sickness meant I was not up for studying my correspondence course or doing taxes. I want my brain to be in gear for both. I did try to work on the course one evening, but after reading the same page 3 times and not retaining anything, I gave up and figured I'd try again later.
  • Contacting A. For the same reason as above. Not that it required much brainpower, but I just didn't have the mental energy until the last few days. I'll put it on the goal list for March.
  • Buying a new bathmat. I'm waiting another month because it's not urgent and our finances can use a break from all the remodel spending. I do realize a bathmat can be pretty inexpensive, but just on principle if nothing else I was trying to hold off on spending anything if I could. I say that, but then I went ahead & got the shower curtain & toothbrush holder because our old ones were gross due to our hard water. I just couldn't put those nasty looking things in our sparkling new bathroom. And yes, I realize that we really need to get a water softener before the hard water here messes up our new fixtures etc. It's on the list of things to buy. Hopefully this spring. Surely that much damage can be done in only 3 months??

Not successful at all:
  • All that computer/desk work. Backing up Quicken shouldn't have required much brainpower (although I was slightly concerned I'd mess it up and have a major problem, so it was a conscious decision to procrastinate on it). But burning pics to a disc? I've done it plenty so I should have been able to get it done. And making files isn't exactly a mentally challenging task. I just didn't do it.