Friday Check-in

Good Friday morning!

Hope everyone has had a good week! If you’re lucky, you have a three day weekend! Woo-hoo! Those are always nice.

Looking back over your week, have you made any changes or adjustments that have made your mornings, days, bedtimes, etc. any easier? Getting back on track with my menu planning helped me a lot this week. And I’m making headway on a September menu plan. I hope to finish it today. Stuck to the laundry schedule this week. A load to do today and I should be set until Monday. Getting up 15 minutes earlier in the mornings has left me time for the first cup of coffee and morning devotional before anyone else is up and about. (Plus it gives me a good excuse (reason?) for a little nap in the afternoon.)

Tomorrow will be my first attempt at a tech-free day. Teresa and I have pledged to each other that we will both take the challenge. I know I’ll have to check my work email in case someone needs to contact me about Sunday morning, but I plan for that to be my only technology-related activity for the day. I’m planning to get to the library to day so that I’ll have a book or two to read. I’m actually looking forward to taking this challenge. I’m really hoping it leads to my spending less time involved with technology on a daily basis. I know that I need to limit my time online and on games on my phone. Maybe tomorrow will jump start that for me.

Football season is underway. My hubby is happy today since his Carolina Gamecocks won their game last night. He will be located in front of the television tomorrow from the first game to the last, I imagine. 🙂 I’ll be located in my comfy chair with my book and my coffee. Sounds like a great Saturday to me.

Has anyone else decided to try a tech-free day? Anyone? Come on…join us. But don’t tell us how it went until Sunday. 🙂

Y’all have a great weekend! Praying is peaceful and relaxing!

Lynne

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Recipe Share Wednesday: Taco Lasagna

Prep. 20 min.; Bake 25 min.

  • 1 pound ground beef (I use extra lean)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes (plain or Mexican style), undrained
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans (heated per instructions on can
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend, Colby/Monterey, Pepper Jack…whatever suits your fancy)
  • 6 (8-in) flour tortillas

In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place two tortillas in a greased 13-in by 9-in by 2-in baking dish. Spread with HALF of the refried beans (beans will spread more easily if they have been heated) and HALF of the beef mixture; sprinkle with one cup cheese. Top with two more tortillas; spread remaining beans and beef mixture over top and sprinkle with one cup cheese. Top with remaining two tortillas and remaining cup of cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heating through and the cheese is melted.

Yield: 9 servings

I dare you!

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Email. Online news. Online books. The list goes on and on. Smart phones. Laptops. Tablets. And another list goes on and on. We are bombarded left and right, day in and day out with technical “junk” that, in my humble opinion, has made us dependent – hooked, if you will – on the electronics in our lives. As in, I could go into withdrawals if I don’t play Candy Crush at least twice a day. Or check Facebook on a regular basis. Maybe we should start a support group. “Hi. My name is Lynne. I’m addicted to Candy Crush.”

As I was perusing Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I came across a friend’s status wherein she stated that she and a friend we going to try to go one day a week tech-free. (Thank you, Shannon!) Tech. Free. Is it possible? Can we go a day without Facebook? A day without surfing the net? A day without – gasp! – playing Candy Crush?

I am challenging myself – and you, of course – to choose a day this week to go tech-free. And if you can’t go cold turkey, then try setting an amount of time that you’ll spend on the computer, playing games on your smart phone, etc. – whatever it is that eats up your time – and then do your best to limit your access to technology to that time only. (Note: This does not mean not responding to text messages from your children or answering the cell phone if your mom calls.)

I am going to try Saturday. No Facebook. No Candy Crush. No Words with Friends. And while I could go television-less any other time of the year, we all know that it’s time for college football. And, well, that means the TV must be on. From the first game to the last, my hubby will watch them all. He doesn’t even have to be a fan of the team. If the weather is nice, I’ll spend some time outside reading and just enjoying God’s creation. If it’s not, I’ll retreat to my room and read.

I must admit that I’m pretty excited about this challenge now that I’ve written about it. Who’s willing to take the challenge with me? If you are, email me and let me know. We can pray for one another to be strong! 🙂

So, let’s take some time away from technology this week. I bet we’ll feel more relaxed if we’re not attached to one of our devices for a time.

Come on. I dare you!

Lynne

Mondays…

Mondays always get here too quickly! Fridays take forever to roll around and then – BOOM! – it’s Monday again. How does that work?? 🙂

Well, I am in “schedule adjustment” mode at the moment. I’m still getting used to this working thing. I really like my job, but I was a creature who was set in her ways. And one who is having to adjust her ways. As long as no one interferes with my coffee time, I think we’ll all be okay. So here is how my day has gone so far (because I’m sure you’re just dying to know!).

  • 6:15 a.m.  Up and at ’em! Well, up anyway. Had coffee and read my morning devotional; started load of laundry
  • 6:30 – 7:30 Fought with 19-year-old over getting up for school  – oh, joy!
  • 7:30  Drove daughter to school
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Came home, had breakfast, hung laundry on the line, put chicken in crock pot for dinner
  • 9:30 – 11:00 Work
  • 11:00 Pick up daughter from school; fix lunch
  • 11:30 – 1:30 Work
  • 1:30 Home, living room straightened, coffee made and enjoyed!
  • 3:00 Blogging for the day

I’ll make dinner (a chicken pot pie for the meat eaters; a veggie pot pie for the ones of us who practice Meatless Mondays) and then I have 5K training from 7:00 – 8:30. I foresee falling exhausted into bed – hopefully not before getting a shower! That would just be gross!

I’m looking ahead and starting to work on a menu plan for September. Here’s what I’m thinking for that:

  • Sunday – soup (crock pot or prepared in advance) – Sundays are now my busiest days
  • Monday – veggie day
  • Tuesday – beef
  • Wednesday – chicken
  • Thursday – leftovers
  • Friday – pasta or pizza
  • Saturday – something on the grill

I plan to use my crock pot as often as possible. It could become a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter top – right next to the coffee pot. The essential kitchen appliances. Do NOT mess with my coffee pot, people. I beg you!

My change this week was getting up earlier. I do not care for alarm clocks. I really don’t. They make me unhappy. 😦 Still, I got up when it went off. 

What is a change or adjustment that YOU need to make this week? Think about the one thing that would make life so much easier and then set forth to get that one thing done. That is my challenge to you this week. 

I’d love to hear from you about what you’re doing. Especially if you are following the blog and aren’t on Facebook. So shoot me an email at lynneandteresa@yahoo.com and let me know how you’re making changes for the better.

Have a blessed week!

Lynne

 

 

Happy Friday, y’all!

Hey, everyone!

Hope you all have had a great week! Back to school can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. It’s all about perspective, right? On one hand, you have to get the kiddos up and out early in the morning which is NOT usually a fun process. On the other hand, you might actually find yourself with quiet time on your hands.

This has been my second week as a working mom and I’m still adjusting. While my kids are both in college, I still have a household to run and I’ve been a little off kilter the last two weeks. I think I’m getting my bearings back and adjusting life to my new schedule. I think. I’m working on it, anyway. Throw in training for a 5K three nights a week, and it’s been hectic. At least my version of hectic. (And who in their right mind trains for a 5K in August? Who? Please do not answer this question. It is strictly rhetorical.)

So, with school and work and all that those things entail, what adjustments have you had to make this week? As I said, both my children are in college. However, I still have to drive and my daughter two mornings a week (I still don’t love 8:00 a.m. classes after all this time!) and pick her up at noon. Only two more months and she can drive again if her doctor okays it. Two. More. Months. While it’s fewer than six months, it still seems like a long time. It is just enough to cut into your day and mess it all up. (Don’t tell her I said that. I’m glad I can do it.) So part of my adjustment this week has been getting up even a little bit earlier so that I can have my quiet time before she gets up. I’ve stuck to the laundry schedule pretty well. Cleaning is a little behind and I’m working on figuring that new schedule out. I think I’ve got it, but I’m not 100% positive.

I must confess that I have not been a good dinner maker for several weeks now. That is due to the 5K training. I can’t eat before I go run or I’ll get sick. (I did try it one night. Running while nauseous is not the most pleasant thing to do.) Then I get home and I’m too hot and sweaty to eat. By the time I’ve showered and cooled down, it’s too late to eat. So I’ve made my family suffer right along with me by not cooking dinner every night.  If I suffer, why shouldn’t they? 🙂 But I’m working to get that back on track next week as well.

Obviously, next week will be my “trial run” of my new scheduling ideas. I’m sure more adjustments will be needed and I’ll make them as I go along seeing what works and what doesn’t. By the way, I am loving my new job! Who knew? 🙂 I’m also making a list of indoor projects that I want to do – a little something for each room to mix it up a little and freshen things up without spending a lot of money. Pictures will come as projects progress.

Have a GREAT weekend! I hope it isn’t spent doing chores!

Blessings,

Lynne

 

 

Recipe Share Wednesday: Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

(from Land O’Lakes)

 

Crust Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup pecan halves (I chop mine instead of leaving them whole)

 

Caramel Layer

2/3 cup butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup semi-sweet real chocolate chips (I don’t measure these; I just sprinkle until I have the amount I want – probably not a full cup)

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients EXCEPT pecans in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press onto bottom of ungreased 13×9 inch baking pan. Place pecans evenly over unbaked crust.

 

Combine 2/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil for ONE MINUTE, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over pecans and crust.

 

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until entire caramel layer is bubbly. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle with chips; allow to melt slightly (2-3 minutes). Swirl chips over caramel layer.

 

Cool completely; cut into bars. Store at room temperature in loosely covered container – if there are any left to store.

It’s Back to School Time!

Good Monday morning!

Or not, depending on whether or not the students in your household are cooperating. 🙂 It’s back to school day for many of my friends – whether homeschooling or not. My youngest just left for her day of the semester at Aiken Tech. Being driven by her father, no less. It is so not cool to have to be driven to college by one of your parents. But two months from today, it will have been six months since her seizure and once again – the Lord willing – she will be able to drive herself places. (Please, Lord, be willing!) My older one starts classes tomorrow, hubby starts his rotation of three night shifts, and I have three days of work this week. So it’s a week of adjustments. Alarm clocks. Homework. Summer’s lazy days are officially over, even if summer isn’t. Sigh. But hey, football season is upon us so it’s not all bad!

This week will be challenging for everyone around here, so I’m making the weekly challenge relatively easy. It’s all in how you look at things, right? Here is a list of things to do this week to keep you on an even keel. I hope. 🙂

1. Plan a menu for the week. Cook 3-4 meals and have leftover nights. Get out the slow cooker. (If you do not have a slow cooker for some strange reason, get thee to the store and get one! Pronto!) Slow cooker meals are AWESOME! Throw everything in before you head out in the morning. Dinner is done (or nearly done) just in time without a lot of work on your part.

2. Keep up with your laundry. A load per day. A type (darks, towels, lights, etc.) per day. One kid’s laundry per day. Whatever works for you. Write up or type up & print a laundry schedule and post it where you and your family can see it. Try and limit the amount of laundry you do on the weekends if you can. Unless you enjoy spending your Saturdays doing laundry. I do not.

3. Establish a bedtime routine. If you spent the summer staying up late and sleeping in…well, this morning might have been a shock to your system. So you’ll probably want to get to bed a little earlier tonight. If you kept to a routine even over the summer, kudos to you! But figure out a bedtime routine that works for you and yours and then stick to it as much as possible. Earlier bedtimes certainly make for easier mornings.

4. Get out a big calendar and start writing things down. Practices. Football games. Dance classes. Etc., etc. When the calendar starts looking crowded, start thinking before writing. Reread some of our posts on schedules and busyness. Don’t let yourself get bogged down so much that you spend more time on the road than at home. Really, that’s not good for anyone. Remember: It’s okay to say “no” – even to your children. They will survive. Promise.

5. Set aside 15-30 minutes per day for yourself. If you’ve gotten out of the habit over the summer, get back into it. If it means getting up a few minutes early, staying up a few minutes after your little ones are in bed, or sitting down for a few minutes before you go get into car line, find 15 minutes to be still, be quiet, and just breathe. Actually, sometimes car line is a good time for this. YOU need to do this for YOU. No one else can rest for you.

Y’all have a blessed week!

Lynne

It’s Friday! Woo-hoo!

Happy Friday!

Can you believe we’re only two weekends away from Labor Day? I mean, really? Summer is gone. Of course, with our weather – which changes on a daily basis, it seems – it has felt like fall for the last couple of days. I saw several  Facebook statuses about fall weather being here. I sincerely doubt that it’s here to stay. We’ll get used to the cooler weather. We’ll be all happy.  And then – BOOM! It will be 95 degrees again with 100% humidity. That’s just how it works. 🙂

I made it through my first week as a working woman again. It was only three days, but as I said earlier in the week, I can already see adjustments that I’m going to need to make at home to keep things rolling like they should. Next week we add in driving my daughter to and from school on Mondays and Wednesdays; naturally, she has 8:00 a.m. classes. I’ll be glad when she can drive again (late October if she doesn’t have another seizure). I’m sure she’s more excited about that than I am. Way more excited.

Since my hubby works all weekend, I’ll be spending some time doing some schedule revamping and menu planning, etc. We’ll see what I come up with. And I’ll share any brilliant ideas I come up with. 🙂

Y’all have a great weekend! Rest and relax. If you’re in or near Aiken, there may not be much else you can do. The forecast calls for rain, rain, rain. Oh, joy! 🙂

Lynne

Happy Thursday!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I hope you’re having a GREAT week! I started a new job this week working in the preschool ministry at my church. It’s part time and a lot of it is organizing – my favorite thing as you know! Plus I just love little kiddos! They’re just so darn cute!

How are you doing with your challenges this week? And the 30-minute declutter ideas? As this was my first week at work, I am remembering some of the challenges that I had back “in the day” when I worked full time. Much better now as I don’t have toddlers and am only working part-time. However, I already know that I will have to adjust my schedule to accommodate my work hours. My crock pot is going to get a good workout. I know that for sure.

Tomorrow is my big “cleaning” day as I have neglected my duties as I prepare for Sunday. A whole day to get everything nice and clean. I’m pretty excited. And, yes, I know that makes me weird. 🙂 I’m okay with that. I want to leave for church Sunday morning with dinner in the crock pot and a clean house and prepared coffee maker awaiting me when I get back home. I think that ‘s a great goal, don’t you?

I tried a new soup recipe tonight. It was quite yummy! Yes we had soup in August. Since it was over 25 degrees cooler today than it was two days ago. Mother Nature is toying with us and teasing us with fall weather. I hope to share the recipe next Wednesday, but I have to get permission since it’s from another blogger.

My baby boy turns 22 this Sunday. When they say that time flies – whoever they might be – they do NOT lie. I will not cry. I will not. I. Will. Not. (She says as she tears up.) So Sunday is a big day around here.

Praying you have a great Friday!

Lynne

Recipe Share Wednesday: Marinated Pork Loin

Marinated Pork Roast

  • 2 1/2 pound pork roast (or pork loin)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or white cooking wine)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a large ziploc bag, combine the soy sauce, onion, garlic, oil, lemon juice, and ginger; add pork and turn to cover. Refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight, turning several times.

Drain and discard marinade. Mix together the wine, honey, and brown sugar. Place roast in a foil-lined baking pan; cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until completely done through. After 30 minutes, begin basting with the wine/honey every 15 minutes. Remove foil towards end of cooking time to brown roast slightly.