Subscribe: Life, In A Nutshell
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
birthday  chicken  day  decided  ethan  fall  food  garlic  give  house  list  make  night  party  pumpkin  stuff  time 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Life, In A Nutshell

Life, In A Nutshell

"Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life." -Burton Hills

Updated: 2018-02-20T16:21:00.302-06:00




I can't believe that I have never posted this recipe.

The first time I made this, neighbors came out of their house to see what smelled so good. Yeah, it is that good.

Korean Steak (Bulgogi)

1 (1 to 1 1/2 lb) Top Round Steak
1/2 c soy sauce
2 tbls. sugar
2 tbls. minced ginger
2 tbls. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbls. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
3 garlic cloves (crushed with a press)
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 tbls. sesame seeds
1 head of romaine lettuce

In large plastic bag combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil,
red pepper, and garlic.

Add steak, turning to coat. Place sealed bag on a plate or in a pan and place in the fridge 2 - 4 hours, turning at least once, to marinate.

Grill steak to taste, let stand for 10 minutes.
While steak is resting heat marinade and 1/4 c water to boiling, boil 2 minutes.

Serve with prepared rice.

Place thinly sliced steak, some rice, some green onions and sesame seeds on a
large lettuce leaf, drizzle with marinade, roll and eat.

Fall Bucket List Update!


Now that we are a little more than halfway through what I feel is fall, I figured I should update my bucket list and see where I am.

1) Date night at least twice a month - In progress!

2) Go on a hay ride - Done!

3) Bonfire with S'mores - Done!

4) Make caramel apples

5) Visit a pumpkin patch - Done!

6) Make fall cookies

7) Nature walk

8) Carve or decorate a pumpkin - Done!

9) Eat/drink as much pumpkin as possible! - In progress!

10) Fall picnic

11) Celebrate Oktoberfest - Nope. I might try to pass it off in November, though. If we can do it in September here in the US, I can do it in November, right? :-D

12) Eat donuts and drink Cider

13) Go to a high school football game - Not going to happen. The season passed me by without my even realizing it. I dropped off/picked up Ethan at one and I have to say, that kind of killed it for me. Football is taken very seriously down here. Trust me.

14) Weekly Soup Night! - Oh yeah! Done and doing!

15) "Fall-Themed" Pinterest night with friends! - Yeah. I started to plan one and after thinking about it, I just don;t think I want to do this. I just don;t know if my friends want to make crap for their houses, kwim? I would consider doing a food themed Pinterest party, but the gluten thing kind of kills that for me. Oh well. I don't have to stress over a party and then force my friends to take crap home!

16) Collect pinecones and acorns - I have a back yard full of both, so I consider this done!

17) Watch Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!

18) Make pumpkin dump cake

19) Make apple or pumpkin butter

20) Make No Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

21) Watch Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania - Not sure if this is going to happen. I missed them at the theater, so I might have to wait until they come out on DVD.

Unpacking and getting settled


We are slowly but surely getting unpacked and settled in. I haven't made it to PT this week, thanks to a stomach bug, but I plan to go tomorrow.

The kitchen is the room that I started on and it is just now to the point that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is too big! I have never had a kitchen that is big enough to hold all of my kitchen crap, so I was at a loss as to what to do with it all. A friend suggested that I leave the cupboards empty and let them find their purpose. I did and it worked! Once I stopped worrying about where to put everything, it all fell in to place. I am loving my giant kitchen!

The whole place is ceramic tile, so it is echoey and the furniture slides when you sit on it. Other than that, we love it!

I planned a Pumpkin Carving Party for the 26th, so that I have to get the unpacking done. I will let you know if it works!



Life has been busy. 

Packing is exhausting! 

Fall Bucket List!


I finally got my list done. Yay! I can't wait to get started on it!1) Date night at least twice a month2) Go on a hay ride3) Bonfire with S'mores4) Make caramel apples5) Visit a pumpkin patch6) Make fall cookies7) Nature walk8) Carve or decorate a pumpkin9) Eat/drink as much pumpkin as possible!10) Fall picnic11) Celebrate Oktoberfest12) Eat donuts and drink Cider13) Go to a high school football game14) Weekly Soup Night!15) "Fall-Themed" Pinterest night with friends!16) Collect pinecones and acorns17) Watch Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!18) Make pumpkin dump cake19) Make apple or pumpkin butter20) Make No Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies21) Watch Frankenweenie and Hotel Transylvania[...]

Well, hello there!


We are moving! Yup... we finally decided that apartment living was not for us. Ok, we had decided that a while ago, but decided that we would just stick it out.  A friend was talking to a friend of hers and found out that their house would be for rent, so we talked about it and decided to go for it.

We were planning to move in at the end of September but our move-in has been delayed until the middle of October - which is fine with me because I am not exactly in any hurry to pack.

Next week is my last week of Physical Therapy. It has been such a huge help! I have virtually zero knee pain now. I am going to go in to their maintenance plan, though - $40 for 2/3 times a week access to their equipment. I am looking for something to do the other days of the week. Right now I am just walking, but I am taking a look at Tracy Anderson's Metamorphosis.

I picked up a Fitbit the other day and so far I love it!

Today is packing and cleaning the house day. I am taking pizza to Ethan's EYC (Episcopal Youth Community) get together and I plan to go hiking while he is there.

I am currently working in a fall bucket list (yes, late, I know). As soon as it is done, I will post it here.

Happy fall, y'all!

Stupid knee


On Saturday I was driving home from Winn Dixie and my knee decided to stop working.One trip to the ER later and I found out that I have no bone damage, but probably ligament or muscle damage.  For some reason, the ER couldn't order an MRI, so I am on couch rest.  I have to stay off of it, ice it and ibuprofen the hell out of it for 3-5 days and hope it heals. If not, I have to go to my doctor and he will order an MRI. Marty waiting for the results of my x-raysOn Monday, it started to feel better, so I tried to use it a bit. Poolside snackingI even went to the pool! What a horrible, horrible mistake. Monday night, I was awake until almost 6am, unable to sleep because of the pain. Now, I am back to sitting on the couch and letting people take care of me. Let me tell you, though. I have the internet, a Kindle with over 75 unread books on it, Hulu Plus and Netflix at my disposal and I am bored senseless. Worst of all? Today is Ethan's birthday and I didn't even get to see him. His friend invited him to spend the night last night, hang out today and go to a movie, and then spend the night tonight and have a bon fire. I said yes because I wanted him to have a nice birthday and all of the things we had planned had to be scrapped. [...]

A Surprise


Ethan's birthday is the 25th of July. Two of his friends decided to throw a surprise party for him last Thursday. 

allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />

The next day. Christian loves cake. (He really only ate one piece, but I thought this was too funny to not take a picture!)

Chairs + Storage fee = D'oh!


We have six wrought iron chairs on our patio. I picked them up at the thrift store for $100 a while ago and frankly, they have seen better days. Our patio is not the biggest patio, Ethan is not the neatest kid and our apartment is lacking in storage space, so our patio was usually pretty cluttered.

I decided a few weeks ago that we needed a storage space to store some of the patio chairs. Of course, we would also use it to store our camping gear, seasonal junk and anything else we felt like tossing in there, but mostly, it was for the chairs. I called the storage company a friend uses and found out that the smallest unit they have is $40 a month. Sold! I told the guy I would probably call him the next day to set up a time to get our unit.

And then...

Marty did the (simple) math.

Even here, you can see the junk.

I was considering spending $480 a year to store our $100 chairs. I justified it in my mind by tossing the camping and other crap in the unit - all stuff that we have easily stored in the apartment.

So... we cleaned off the patio. We got rid of a Rubbermaid storage cabinet that was really only housing a bird nest, four bikes that haven't been ridden since we moved here* and a bunch of miscellaneous junk that Ethan had piled up. We also cleaned out Alex and Ethan's closet (tossing a bunch of old computer parts and cases that Alex had been saving because he was too lazy to walk them to the dumpster and a few boxes from electronics that Ethan was saving for the same reason) and made room for our camping coolers we had stored on top of the cabinet.

I posted on Facebook, offering four of the chairs for sale. If they sell, I will use some of the money to buy (hopefully, secondhand) a small table or two for drinks and the rest will go in to savings. If they don't sell, that's okay, too.

It is amazing what room you can find to save $480!

*So the bikes. When we lived in Midland, we rode everywhere. Every. Where. Now, we live on a main highway, with no sidewalks and a speed limit of 55 that no one follows. Most of the town doesn't have sidewalks, or if they do, they are old and uneven. Not a bike friendly town, at all. We decided to get rid of the bikes, because by the time we live somewhere that we can ride again, we will replace the thrift store/yard sale bikes with new bikes, with shocks that my bones/joints can handle.

Half way over


When I was a kid, the 4th of July always signified that summer was half way over. Not sure why, because in Ohio school would let out in early June and we didn't start again until Late August, but once we watched the fireworks, I would start to countdown to the end of summer. As an adult on a completely different schedule and living in a place where summer starts in March and ends in November, I still feel that way.

It is so damn hot. Of course, it is hot in Mississippi every summer, but I still reserve the right to complain. I really need to be at the beach.

One boy has been pretty sick for about 2 weeks. So sick we thought surgery might be in his future. Luckily, he is responding to antibiotics and is quickly recovering. This evening you wouldn't even know he had been sick.

Christian starts class Monday. He has to take a summer Calc 2 class so he can start Linear Algebra and Calc 3 in the fall and then Calc 4 in the Spring.

We got ACT and SAT scores back this week. They very accurately reflect each boy and his chosen career path. (Christian - Engineering. Alexander - Linguistics.) Alex also qualified for an additional scholarship through the school for $600 for books, etc. So proud!

Two down, one to go


Alex, after lunch at his college orientation today. 

Vacation, in pictures


With the exception of a surprise stop in Mobile to have the water pump replaced, our vacation was perfect.We camped with friends at St. Andrew's State Park in Panama City Beach.At least we found a good mechanic in Mobile!This is where we spent most of our timeThese little guys were outside Publix, but we saw them everywhere!We also did a good bit of this... ... and spent way too much time here.We ate lots of great food......and managed to wake up at 4am one morning to watch the sunrise over the Gulf.I spent some time here, trying to get the sand out of everything. This guy didn't move for a long time. He just stared at us, being creepy and alligator like. Turns out, some jellies don't sting. Well, they do sting, but human skin is too thick for the stingers to penetrate. I fell in LOVE with this camper! The owners were kind enough to show it to me and answer my questions. I have decided that I MUST own one and she will be pink and her name will be Roxy.Of course, we went crabbing. This is Mr. Krabs. We also found Crabby and Krusty Krab. (Don't worry - we released them!)Not including the $275 emergency water pump, we spent around $700 for this vacation. Not bad at all, but I can tell you that a good chunk of that was food that we didn't need to buy. Any time we are in a new city and find lots of gluten free foods that we can't get locally, we go overboard. [...]

We're back!


We are back from vacation! Panama City Beach was amazing. I will post some pictures and a summary later, but I am exhausted right now.

Summer Reading List?


I have a notepad on my desktop that I have started a list of some of the books I want to read this summer. So far, I have: (Don't worry - they aren't affiliate links. If you click on the link or the picture, it will take you to the Good Reads page for the book.)The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime Growing Up Amish: A Memoir Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World   Bitches on a Budget: Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Times in Style  Enough Already: Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You  The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International EducationThere will be plenty of mindless reading thrown into the mix. It's what I can get free for the Kindle through my library. What is on your summer reading list?[...]

Happy Mother's Day!


"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." — Washington Irving

Happy Mother's Day!

Give Your Stuff Away Day! - Results


How did you do? I have a huge tote full of stuff for the thrift store, a Rock Band game that is going to the youth group, a giant Sam's bag full of books going to someone and a big stack of school books I am selling for cheap. Not done, but off to a good start! I am going to continue tomorrow and will take everything to the thrift store Monday or Tuesday. I will try to remember to get a picture of it before I drop it off.

 As a side note, I have no idea why my GoodReads Book Challenge widget says that I have read 0 books towards my goal of 100. If you click on where it says "see books", it clearly shows that I have read 40 of 100 (40%) and am 4 books (4%) ahead.

Give Your Stuff Away Day!


Don't forget that tomorrow is Give Your Stuff Away Day! If your town is not participating and you can't physically give it away tomorrow, gather your unused and unwanted stuff, toss it in a box and put it in the trunk of your car so you can drop it off at the thrift store the next time you pass it. (Longest. sentence.ever.) Your unused and unwanted stuff could be just the thing to help a family who can't afford to buy new, or help raise money to help those less fortunate.A few ideas-Give away as much as you can!May 12th is the 132nd day of the year, so try to give away 132 thingsPick another number that has significance to you and aim for thatHave each family member go through their things and offer a prize for whoever comes up with the most items to give awayDo FlyLady's 27 fling boogie (Give yourself 15 minutes to go through the house and quickly select 27 things to give away.)Have fun![...]

Do it yourself minced garlic in the jar


We use a lot of garlic at my house, and being the lazy person that I am, I was quite happy to see the pre-chopped stuff in the grocery store all those years ago. Being the cheap ass that I am, I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. When I found a big 48 oz. jar of it at Sam's club for $4.72, I went ahead and tried it. I was underwhelmed. It just didn't have the same flavor that fresh garlic has.

Luckily, my Sam's also carries giant 2 lb sleeves of garlic cloves. Still being lazy and cheap, I decided that I would make my own chopped jarred garlic.

Using this tip, Ethan peeled the entire sleeve of garlic, let the food processor do all of the work and ended up with three pint size canning jars full of chopped garlic.

 I covered ours with canola oil, but I am not sure that was even necessary.

I tossed the two extra jars into the freezer for safe keeping. Now we have fresh tasting, lazy cook minced garlic, and I only had to wash the food processor once!

A Porcupine's Birthday Party


Today we had a birthday party for a porcupine.

Ereth is a  curmudgeonly old porcupine who is convinced that his friends have forgotten his birthday, so he storms off and has quite an adventure.

A porcupine birthday party is a lot like a human birthday party, except that we talked a lot about Ereth's feelings and motivation.

Just like a human birthday party, the cake was the best part!

I want a paint gun thingy


I spent the other day painting my red hutch and am convinced that I need a power paint spray gun thingy. Of course, I would use it to paint the few pieces of furniture that I am planning to paint and then it would sit in the closet, unused. What a waste of money it would be. A glorious, glorious waste of money.

In the mean time, this is what I did.

My grandma's hutch. I took it off of my grandma's breezeway 15 years or so ago. It was given to her when she got married, by her Amish neighbor. She said that she had to dig it out of their barn and clean it up, and that it was old when she got it. My grandparents married in 1941ish, so I can only imagine how old it is.
I brought it home and painted it white and then  dry brushed red over it. I loved it at the time, and still love the red. It was starting to look too worn for even my house, so I decided to paint it.

The problem was, that I had never painted the inside, and apparently 100 or so year old unfinished wood sucks up a-freaking-lot of primer and paint. Three coats if primer (!!) and two coats of paint/primer wizzardry and it still bleed brown yuckiness.

Here is Marty's solution:

The bottom pictures are black and white shots of Paris, the middle one is a picture of the boys and the top is old French chocolate print ads.

My solution is to mount some antique quilt squares that my other grandma made on white foam core or corrugated cardboard and put them back there. Kind of like this.

I think I am going to stick with Marty's solution for now, because it is easier and frankly, I am lazy.

It is by no means perfect, but it will do for now.

Today I Am . . .


Today I Am . . .

  • Checking stuff off of my April to-do list. First stop - painting the red hutch.
  • Happy that I went to the gym first thing this morning, instead of putting it off all day. Also, thrilled and proud that I have gone to the gym every day (except for one day off a week) for almost a month. 
  • Trying to decide what to do with some miniature/doll house furniture that my dad and mom bought and/or built for me. I had kept it to give to my daughter...
  • Love, love, loving my new haircut. Long story short, I decided to cut my own hair late Sunday night. $50 and a rushed trip to the only freaking salon open in this town on Monday, I have a haircut that I love, found a new hair dresser who I absolutely love, and learned a valuable lesson in the process. 

  • Realizing that Marty is right when he tells me that I am crazy for spending $60 a month to groom the dogs, but won't spend money on a haircut for myself. (Hence, the late night hair cut debacle.)
  • Realizing that I am just a crappy blogger. So much has happened since I last blogged, and did I bother to mention any of it here? Sheesh!
  • Telling you that I went to the Opera on Friday. We saw Elixir if Love. Once that was over we headed to a park for a picnic, then to the Hippie Hut (what I call the food Co-op, because I am a child) and picked up some yummy coconut ice cream fudge bars and gluten free cookies for the ride home. 

  • Planning our summer. So far, we have vacation (camping on the beach in Florida) in May, a beach trip (condo in Orange Beach) in June, and possibly a trip here in July. Not sure what we will do in August. 
  • Working on a stupid plan I have brewing in my brain. I am trying to figure out how to do something that may or may not be as fun as I think it will be. I know it would work if I can just figure out how to get it to, if that makes sense. I will share more information as I figure it out for myself. 
  • Looking forward to tomorrow. Marty is off, so depending on how much homework and studying for finals Christian has, I'm thinking Retro Family Movie Night. (Totally not trademarked...)

Food Budget Update


"All great change in America begins at the dinner table."-- Ronald Reagan --Yay! It's that time again. First, I would like to apologize how how horrible my food pictures are. Pioneer Woman I am not. I take them with my phone, right before we eat. I am trying to get better at it, but I am not holding my breath. Second, Marty gets paid on the 15th and the last day of the month, so I am going to go ahead and add them here.Wednesday: Tomorrow is grocery shopping day so tonight we ate leftovers. It seems silly to me to bring more food in to the house when we have a fridge full of prepared food, waiting to be eaten.Thursday: Parmesan herb crusted chicken legs, cole slaw - So quick, so easy and so damn good.Friday: Tequila Chicken Quesadillas I made this as fajitas and didn't make the soy tortilla thingies. I had a fajita salad and used corn tortillas for the boys. Served with salad and No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake.Saturday: Shepherds Pie with a mashed cauliflower topping (instead of potatoes), saladSunday: Easy Cheesy Chili Chicken, roasted lime asparagus This is one of our favorites!Monday: Stuffed chicken breasts, green beans and salad - Pounded the chicken breast flat, seasoned and stuffed with spinach, tomatoes and Dubliner cheese.Tuesday: Crock Pot Rump Roast, green beans, saladWeek Two:Started this week with $112 left in the grocery envelope, a fridge, freezer and pantry full of food, and another short shopping list. (Mostly fresh fruit and veg.)Wednesday: Sort of an every man for himself night. Leftovers, quesadillas, and a big salad with leftover grilled chicken were a few of the things we hadThursday: Hamburgers, home made french friesFriday: Hamburgers, tater tots - We went to a movie and just made something quick when we got homeSaturday: Pizza, salad (Same cheese crust as before)Sunday: Shrimp (marinated in olive oil, key lime juice, ginger, garlic and a dash of hot sauce), quinoa (boys) saladMonday: Swedish Meatballs, steamed broccoli with Dubliner cheese and a salad. (These are from pg 106 from Real Food Real Easy and unfortunately I can't find the recipe online.)Tuesday: Beef tips over mashed potatoes (boys), a grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli and Dubliner cheese for me and a salad for everyone.Wednesday: Hibachi Chicken and Shrimp, saladThursday: Chicken quesadillas, saladFriday: Grilled hamburgers, baked beans and potato chips (the boys)[...]

French Fries - The enemy of a food budget?


One thing that I have noticed is that when working with a small budget, veering from the plan can wreak havoc on your budget. For example, hamburgers and french fries. Not something that we normally eat (potatoes kill me) but every 4-6 months I get a huge craving for them. I can't just go to McDonald's and place my order (even though most Mc Donald's have dedicated fryers, I have always, always, always been glutened when eating their fries) so I have to make my own. This time it cost a little over $30. $17.98 for the burgers (2 1/2 meals worth, though), $5 for 10 lbs of potatoes and $9.98 for the oil that because we make them so infrequently is used once and then tossed.

Since this is a once every six months or so thing, I don't stress about it and just make it work. If it happened more frequently, it could be a problem.

Book Review: The Color Purple


(image) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book opens with Celie, a young, poor black girl living in rural Georgia, being raped by her father - and it only gets worse from there.

After "getting big" twice by her father, and the babies being taken away, Celie is given to a man, Mr. ___ to marry. Mr. ___ beats her, mistreats her, allows his children to mistreat her and just generally makes her life hell.

I am not going to give away too much of the book, but will say that by the end, you see that Mr. ___ is not such a bad guy - or is at least is capable of change - and that Celie is a strong woman who overcomes her family being torn apart, poverty, sexual abuse and oppression and racial tension and oppression.

View all my reviews

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is!


Happy first day of spring!

This morning I found out that one of Christian's classes had been canceled so I decided to just take my Kindle and wait on that side of town for him. After I dropped him off, I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast (oops!) so I ran to Walmart and then sat in one of the parking lots, eating my Walmart breakfast and reading. While I was at Walmart, I picked up the stuff to make my own powdered laundry soap, so stay tuned for that post.

When we got home, we made lunch and then got to work cleaning. I ended up not scrubbing the carpets but I did get some pet odor sprinkle on crap and vacuuming them four times. The weather cooperated and was actually cool enough that we could turn the a/c off and open the windows to air the house out. The house looks and smells amazing. Hopefully it will stay this way for more than a few days. My house didn't smell like dogs before and I made damn sure it doesn't smell like dogs now!

Tonight's dinner was supposed to be a pot roast, but when I got home and went to toss it in to the crockpot, I realized that it was supposed to cook on low for 10 hours. Ten hours, people. I ended up pulling the last of the chicken breasts out of the freezer and making fajita salad again. Tomorrow, bright and early, the roast will be in the crockpot.

Like I mentioned above, the weather today was great. The dogs and I ended up spending a lot of time outside. Daisy spent all of the time outside digging in, playing in, sniffing, rolling around in and anything else she could do with the grass. Lulu spent all of her outside time on the sidewalk, avoiding the grass like the plague. It is so funny to me the difference in personalities between the two of them.

I hope your day was great!