Menu Plan Monday: June 27-July 3

There's really not a lot to the menu this week! We're finally getting red tomatoes from the garden, so I'm definitely incorporating them into a lot of meals - even if only as a side dish. 
So here's the plan:

Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, macaroni and cheese (this has been on the menu the past two weeks and we have never gotten around to grilling!)
Tuesday: Camping! We'll have grilled pork chops, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes
Wednesday: We'll be floating the river, so likely grab some fast food on the way home :)
Thursday: Tostadas
Friday: Salmon patties with noodles cooked in tomato juice and fried potatoes
Saturday: July 3 party at my aunt and uncle's house. I'll take a veggie. 

For more meal planning ideas and recipes, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie!


A splash of color

For the past couple of weeks, I've been sporting an amazing tan from the waist up. All the swimming and work outside was paying off :)
The big mystery is why my legs were still white as a ghost — I was wearing shorts, shouldn't they be tan too? I'd contemplated all those sprays and lotions, even fake baking to get a little color (especially for my friends wedding last weekend), but fears of turning orange or developing cancer (plus the high price tags!) stopped me. 
One week ago, I caved and spent a whopping nine bucks on this:
Wow. Best money I ever spent. Yeah, I do have to wait a few minutes to put clothing on over it, but it has a fabulous smell and great color and results! Several people commented on the color as the week went by ... and although it's slightly off, it's pretty close to my real tan!
Jergens Natural Glow is definitely my new best friend - and not only does it take away the ghostly glare, it also promises to firm up skin and reduce the appearance of that lovely cottage cheese - hells yeah!
Even though it does seem kind of expensive, I think this bottle will last at least a month, and be well worth it.

No, Jergens didn't pay me a thing to write this! I just plain love the lotion and am singing its praises. Although, if Jergens decided to send me some product, I certainly wouldn't complain :)



A couple of my besties and I are the girls you don't want anywhere near your bachelorette party or wedding if you are wanting formal and elegant.
Seriously. Our friend Liz got married last weekend. When it came to planning the bach party, we had strict rules. 
For the wedding, we were given a task no one would think we could use to embarrass - cutting the cake. 
But we had to add our own little touch ... Jess, Chelle and Bel style:

Cheers, Josh and Liz!



I have a really bad habit of buying produce, eating about half, then letting it go bad.
Just ask my two super-mushy bananas I discovered Sunday. I told myself I wouldn't waste them, however, and remembered a muffin recipe I copied a while back. So I made them last night and let me tell you, they are DELISH!

I wish I could remember where I copied this so I could credit, but I can't for the life of me. But here's the recipe:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Super easy and super good - just the way I like it :)

And by the way, the Farmhouse Chicken I made last night was a new recipe, but definitely a keeper. We both loved the flavor, and were full without eating half of it. Cheap, pretty healthy and filling - what's not to love?

This week's menu

Once again I was a Menu Plan Monday FAIL --- I tried to post from home, but the Internet was acting up. Plus I had been busy all day, but that's another story. 
Oh well. Here goes:

Sunday: Sandwiches and chips
Monday: Farmhouse chicken and green beans
Tuesday: Macaroni and cheese lasagna, garlic bread, salad
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, French Fries (made from fresh potatoes!)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Homemade pizza, garlic bread/sticks

The garden is really starting to produce, so I'm planning to start incorporating more tomatoes and cucumbers into meals! Also there are potato farms nearby and we'll get a bag of fresh ones this week, so I'll not only have those to cook into chips and more, I also plan to try a recipe of freezing the potatoes into our own fries. 



Menu planning

Yes, I know it is Tuesday.
But better late than never, right? And here lately, it's been more never, and I've ended up cooking on the fly. While it works some nights, there just isn't a lot of variety, and there are too many times we have crap for supper - like when my lucky man got canned ravioli and a pb sandwich last week. 
While I was menu planning, I didn't have those problems! And writing it out really works for me. So here goes:
Sunday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Beef tips w/seasoned rice, fresh green beans
Wednesday: Spaghetti leftovers
Thursday: Grill night! Steak, potatoes and a veggie
Friday: Hamburgers and hot dogs (grilled on Thursday) and macaroni and cheese (see recipe below)
Saturday: Wedding dinner

For more menu planning tips and recipes, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Easy Macaroni and Cheese:
Boil 1 cup noodles (can be shells, elbow macaroni, etc.) as directed.
In pan, mix together 4 slices American Cheese (I use Velveeta) and 1/4 c. milk. Add pepper to taste. Stir until melted and add in noodles. 
That's it! Enjoy :)

Dippin' in

When it comes to summer parties, I don't think you can ever go wrong with dip. 
For a barbecue on Saturday, I decided to make a buffalo wild wings cheese dip. Not only is it delish, it's super easy and just sits in the crock pot. 

Here's what you will need:

- 2 c. cooked chicken (I used canned, but also shred my own sometimes)
- I c. ranch dressing
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
- 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (I add a bit more because I like it hot)

How to make it:
- Layer all the ingredients into a crock pot. Yes, it looks kinda gross.

- Stir together and turn crock pot on high for a couple of hours until all ingredients are melted. Stir occasionally. 

- If you don't have a crock pot, you can also layer it all in a baking dish (an 8x8 or 9x9) and bake at 350 for half an hour. 

- Serve with tortilla chips or celery. 

- Yes, it's seriously that easy. And good!


Friday catch-up

Although Friday isn't quite as exciting when you have to work a half day on Saturday, it's still pretty darn fun.
It has been an insane few days around here ...
Monday was crazy, being my first day back at the office after my four days out. And to make matters worse, I ended up having to leave early to take my darling Hank to the vet for a swollen leg. Luckily we'd gotten some antibiotics in him on Sunday (thank goodness I'm friends with our vets daughter) and he is MUCH better now. Apparently he just had some sort of an infection. 
Speaking of dogs ... see how much they love each other?

Wednesday was my day off work and I finally caught up on sleep - I didn't get out of bed until almost 11 - woohoo! I also did a lot of garden work and we had fresh green beans for supper :) And got a bunch of house cleaning done.

I'm finally starting to feel "normal" again, which is a blessing. I was a walking/driving wreck for about a week and while I know that is to be expected, I really felt depressed. I know my grandma would want me to be happy and live my life. 

Tonight we're going to watch a movie (either A-Team or Killers) and then to bed early. After I get off work tomorrow, it's nap time to get ready for a bbq and fun with some friends. Sunday I hope to relax and since I'm off work Monday, I think I'll head to my aunt and uncle's pool to work on my tan. 

Happy weekend :)


Isn't he lucky?

While I know it isn't the 1950s anymore, I love to cook and there is a satisfaction I get from serving  my man a yummy, home-cooked meal. Sure, we still have some convenience foods like frozen pizza, but I usually cook at least three times a week. 
Until the past week or so. In the last 10 days, all I've cooked is bacon and eggs for breakfast. Other than that it's been things my family has received and sent home with me, leftover grilled hot dogs or anything we can unearth. In addition to being extremely unmotivated, J has been working to haul hay and I'm not cooking that late at night. Plus I've been driving truck and helping pick up some bales too. 
You want proof my man is the luckiest alive? Here is what he enjoyed for supper last night:

Pair that with a glass of milk and a peanut butter sandwich and you've got a meal. 
J must think he's got the greatest woman in the world!

To re-enter the cooking scene, I have a feast planned for tonight! My homemade meatloaf, butter potatoes (leftover from the funeral meal), corn and crescent rolls. 
Yup, I'll be working out tomorrow!


I won!

I know everyone says they are the most unlucky person ever ... Well I really am! I rarely win anything. 

That being said, I like to tempt fate and put my name in the hat every now and then, and frequently enter giveaways on blogs. 

Amongst them, I recently entered this contest. I LOVE Jenna's blog and all the giveaways and reviews. And I won this ring!

Jimmy has been wanting a tungsten ring as his primary wedding band anyhow - with a physical job, he definitely would not want to scratch/bend an expensive one. Not only is tungsten a good, hard metal, it's very inexpensive - around $100 per ring. 

Although this isn't a huge wedding expense to get off the table, it is something, and I'm ecstatic! Now if only I can win the dress, my band, shoes, meal, dj .... 


A lot of words about nothing

- My grandma's service will be on Friday. Although she hasn't been well at all for the past few weeks and lived a full life at the age of 92, it's hitting me a lot harder than I thought. I've been surrounded by well-wishing people, however, and that definitely makes things easier. 
- These past two days have drug on and on and on. Last night after spending an hour or so with my family, I came home and slept since I tossed and turned all night on Monday. I feel a lot better rested now, but still feel like I could sleep for hours. 
- Last weekend I attended a bridal shower and bachelorette party and had an absolute blast. I can't wait until June 19 when the wedding is! I hadn't met some of the bridesmaids (I'm a cake cutter :)) but they were awesome and I know we'll have a blast. 
- I picked red tomatoes on Monday! They were just cherry tomatoes, but the others are coming along quite nicely.
- Speaking of the garden, it has come quite some way over the past week and a half. The grass was beginning to take over but with J's help, it's all cleaned up. We also replanted the okra and cucumbers that didn't come up after the first planting in mid-April. My lettuce is starting to die off, but I planted more of it, too. I'm most excited about my cucumbers, though.  
- I have no idea what is going on this weekend. I'm sure I'll want something pretty mellow after Friday. We've been invited to camp/float the river, to a birthday party AND our nieces have their annual dance recital. So we'll be busy, no doubt!
- I am SO.READY for the river though. But I really need to get in shape. I actually worked out Monday night ... and that's been put on hold seeing as I have no energy. Plus I'm busy stuffing my face with all the yummies people are bringing. 


A human story is a life told by God ...

My grandma passed away last night. She was 92.
While I am sad, I knew this was coming and am, in a way, relieved. We had to move Grandma to a nursing home less than two weeks ago because it was clear she could not stay at home, even with someone there. While she was still breathing, I don't think she was still "living" as she was not able to walk or even eat anymore. 

My grandma making me laugh about a month ago.
She was honored as the town's oldest resident and a newspaper photographer captured this. I hate having my picture taken (especially since I work at a sister paper) but am so glad this was captured!

I have so many memories of my grandma and feel blessed to have known her for more than 25 years. If one thing was evident, it was the love she had not only for her family, but also her friends and God. She always told me how she was proud of me and I hope I continue to make her smile while she is in heaven!