Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I have managed to get a little bit of reading in lately so I thought I'd share a wonderful book that I just finished.  "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.  I downloaded this from Amazon for Kindle for free but hadn't read it and then found a paperback copy of it on  There's still a Kindle version still available for free, you just have to look and see which one.  I'm so glad I found a paperback copy since this is definitely a keeper.  Since I started participating on the Mary Jane's Farm forums I've developed an interest in women who pioneered or homesteaded and ordered several books from to read as time allows.

Elinore is a widow with a young daughter who had moved to Wyoming to homestead.  The book contains letters she sends to Mrs. Coney, the woman she worked as a washer woman for prior to moving to Burnt Fork.  It covers several years of her life and describes her life and adventures to her dear friend.  The first letter is dated April 18, 1909. 

I found some of her adventures amazing.  The way she would bundle up her daughter and then later her sons and go off on her adventures is truly amazing.  The bravery of starting off in a sled during the harsh winters to visit somebody took a lot of courage.  The compassion of cooking for days and taking the food out to the sheepherder's camps.  She wrote a number of times that she felt more women should leave the city and homestead.  She figured they could live better even if they just grew potatoes.  Mrs. Coney may have questioned this because Elinore later writes that she'd done an experiment and listed all that her and her daughter had been able to grow for a year without any other help except having one of the men plow the fields prior to planting.  When she first arrived she did barter her cooking skills during harvesting season for several days to pay for her crops to be harvested. 

Most of the letters left me wishing she'd written more extensively of the events even though she profusely apologizes to Mrs. Coney in nearly every letter about how wordy and lengthy the letters were.  It's a sign of a good book when you're left wanting to know more.  It also left me wishing states still offered free land to homestead and prove.  This book was made into a movie which I found on Amazon but it's a bit too pricey for me especially when I haven't seen it and don't know if it's a movie that I'd watch frequently enough to justify the cost.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Work this week has been extremely slow, slower then usual, and after my recent schedule the lack of anything to do was driving me a bit crazy.  I'm not one of those people that can sit around and do nothing day after day.  I have to be productive in some way.

Friday night we did a Costco run.  I had run out of my Tazo Chai Tea concentrate earlier in the week and that's like some people running out of coffee, which was another reason we needed to go.  We enjoy Friday night Costco runs since we can graze and it's not as crowded as Saturdays or Sundays are.  Of course it was home to watch the Red Wings game.

Friday Menus:
Lunch:  Taco Salad in a Jar.  I put the Russian Dressing in the bottom which I will rethink the next time.  I may just start packing the dressing separately since this time it just didn't want to combine with everything when I shook it, like it was too thick or I'd packed the lettuce to tight.  On top of the dressing I put lettuce, 1/3 cup fried hamburger, 3 tbsp of cheese, and most of a small bag of Doritos crushed up.
Supper:  Out to Eat.  We were both craving steaks so we went to Texas Roadhouse for supper.

I ran some errands this morning.  I'd hoped to get a pair of my clogs repaired but the cobbler told me they weren't repairable.  The leather was still in really good shape even though they were probably close to 10 years old so I was a bit bummed.  They were a comfortable pair of shoes.  I didn't get to take the dogs to the do-it-yourself dog wash to groom.

I've been needing to purchase office attire for quite a while now.  Today I scored at the Avenue.  They were having a 60% off clearance sale.  I was able to get a pair of black work pants and a sleeveless long black knit shell for just under $28.  I'd love to find a loose gold belt to wear with this outfit.  Pants need to be hemmed but that's an easy fix.

Matt called the shop and the Jeep was finally ready for pickup.  What a nightmare this has been.  Two weeks ago we got a call that they had gotten the engine in but an anti-theft light would come on when it was started and would shut the engine off.  After checking several possibilities it was determined that there was something wrong with the key, $160 for a new key and another $150 for a tech to program it with the computer.  Unbelievable, we now have over $2600 in repairs we've put in this vehicle.  The transmission pan is also leaking and Matt's hoping that he can repair that himself.  His brother, who's a mechanic, is due back within the next two weeks so we'll have him give it a good going over so we know where we are with it. 

The rest of my day has been spent trying to find transcription work to do from home.  I found out about a site that you can do piece work on and have been trying to work my way through the various levels so I can get better paying jobs offered to me.  It's definitely not going to make me rich but it's a start and I can list it as experience.

Saturday Menus:
Lunch:  McDonald's
Supper:  Chicken breast stuffed with wild rice and mushrooms (Costco) and bacon wrapped asparagus.  Aldi's had some beautiful, thin asparagus that I couldn't pass up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hell Week - week 1

I thought I'd posted this but found it in my drafts tonight so I'll post it even though it's about 2 weeks late.  It gives you the idea of what type of insane schedule I was going to have to work if I'd stayed at the hotel.


The fact that I work for the military is probably why my mind made this connection that this week has sort of been like Hell Week during Basic Training.  Once you make it through Hell Week everything gets easier and that's sort of what I think will happen.

When I left work Friday night I'd officially completed a little over 78 hours in 7 days.  I've actually been surprised at how well I've done this week.  The exhaustion I'd expected has not set in.  My feet are not hurting as badly as they were from standing.  Having worked a desk job for over 6 years my feet were not accustomed to standing 12 hours straight.  I have plantar fascitis in both feet which compounded the pain.  My purchasing a pair of crocs designed for restaurant workers was a wise decision.

Wednesday:  First night off since starting the second job.  Pure exhaustion.  I came home and took a two hour nap but felt physically exhausted to the point I couldn't seem to do anything.  I allowed my body the rest.  Days like these I think we all need to learn to listen to our bodies and if they say rest then we need to rest.  I was too tired to even read.

Lunch: leftovers
Supper: Brats and mac & cheese

Thursday:  Second day off and apparently by allowing my body to rest Wednesday allowed my body to recuperate.  I felt pretty normal, almost normal energy, although still a bit of tiredness.  When I came home from work I started an oven roast.  It was an easy meal to prep and allowed me to do other things while it cooked.  My focus for the night was the living room.  It took about an hour to clean, dust, sweep, and mop.  I also put a load of laundry in before I left for work, after I got home, and then a third load before I went to bed.  After I completed that I sat down and read my new Country Woman magazine.

Lunch: peanut butter & jelly sandwich, carrot sticks, and apple slices  - I was actually craving the peanut butter & jelly sandwich so I was glad I'd picked up some peanut butter the day before
Supper: beef roast, carrots, and potatoes with gravy and crescent rolls

Friday's Menu:

Lunch:  fattouch salad in a jar
Dinner: leftover beef roast, carrots, and potatoes from Thursday night's dinner

I've been seeing salads in jars and meals in jars recipes recently and decided to try some.  I have tons of mason jars so these type of meals will work great.  The fattouch salad was fabulous. 

Fattouch in a jar

Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of the jar.  I bought a bottle of fattouch dressing at Cedar Grill and used it.  Chop romaine lettuce up and put into jar.  Push down periodically as you fill so it packs it in some.  Add cukes on top.  I chopped up some pitted kalamata olives and added.  I put the broken up pita chips in smaller containers so they wouldn't get soggy. Just add the pita chips when your ready to eat and shake the jar until the dressing is mixed with the lettuce thoroughly. 

You could also add feta cheese on top of the cukes if you'd like.  I was out of feta so I didn't add any.  If you'd like some protein like chicken you could add it either below or above the lettuce.

Cleaning, job searching, and menues

Saturday and Sunday I spent getting the house back up to standards.  I think I did at least 6 loads of laundry, maybe more.  Saturday morning I decided a spa morning was in order before I started my cleaning routine.  After I got out of the tub I dumped 1 cup of citric acid in the water and mixed it up.  I allowed it to sit until Matt got home from work and would need a shower.  I didn't get to scrub the tub until Sunday afternoon but the tub is once again looking majorly clean and bright.  Matt even asked me what I'd used to clean it.  As Matt would say, "I was a cleaning fool."  Sunday night I took the furkids out for a wander.  They all needed it pretty bad.  I need to get them in shape to walk a parade next month.  A friend is recruiting dogs to walk in the Memorial Day Parade for a local dog grooming and self wash.  It's good to keep the furkids in action with this type of stuff so they still get exposure to lots of people.  The parade is 1.5 miles so it's not that bad as long as it's not insanely hot.  I'd just like to knock a couple (okay quite a few) pounds off Lacey (okay and myself) before we do it.  Tip is nice and svelte but Oreo could knock a few off as well. 

The weekend was also spent sending out resumes and applying for jobs.  Haven't heard anything from any of them unfortunately.  I did find a listing today on Craigslist for a weekend receptionist.  I faxed over my resume, got a call to set up an interview, and interviewed on my way home from work.  I think the position would be great for me.  It's a senior apartment complex, very upscale.  I enjoy working with older people.  I also found a listing for transcription work for a court reporter that I will probably check out as well. 

Detroit and I can probably safely say the entire state of Michigan is in hockey playoff madness.  It's the first round of the playoffs.  So far the Red Wings are down 1-2.  I had never seen a hockey game prior to moving to Michigan but have fallen in love with the sport.  I actually prefer the minor leagues as I think they play with more heart.  Just my opinion.  Matt keeps calling me to come watch since the Wings apparently are playing really well.

Menus for the week:

Sunday:  Broccoli & Cheesy Beer Soup with cheesy biscuits
Monday: Pancakes and sausage
Tuesday:  Wendy's (I was dying for a spicy chicken sandwich for some reason)
Wednesday: Bacon Ranch Chicken with California veggies
Thursday:  Brats & baked beans
Friday: Homemade Mac & Cheese

Friday, April 13, 2012


My youngest son turned 20 last month and between his work schedule and mine we've had to reschedule three times to go out for a movie and dinner.  Tonight we managed it although it nearly got shortened.  We went to see The Hunger Games.  I thought it was pretty good.  I might start reading the books.  I was so embarrassed because I thought I'd turned my ringer off and my phone went off during the movie.  I quickly turned it off but was horrified that I was one of "those" people.  My son's phone went off too right after mine which was a little weird.  They were calling him in to work since another employee had walked off the job.  After the movie was over they called again and told him they'd found somebody so he didn't have to come in so we were able to enjoy our planned trip to his favorite Chinese restaurant. 

It's strange to think my son is 20 already.  I've been melancholy of late and missing the days when the kids were younger and home.  My oldest son should be arriving back in Texas from Afghanistan any day.  I'll sleep much better once he's back.  I miss spending time with the kids.  He stayed for a little bit and we searched  He enjoys reading anime books and was looking for new reading material.  I had two books he'd previously ordered that had come so he's got some reading material.  I also found a pair of his shorts in the computer room the other day when I was working in there that needed a new button so I sewed that on for him and returned those.

Lunch:  Leftover steak and pepper onion mix, chocolate chip cookies

Supper:  Out to Eat - Chinese - sweet and sour soup, eggroll, fried rice, and sesame chicken.  Tons of leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Tuesday I spent cleaning out my coupons and filing all the new ones then going grocery shopping.  No idea why but by the time I was done with that I hit exhaustion so no housework got completed unfortunately.  The dogs were restless  so about 8pm I took them out for a quick wander.  Thankfully it helped . 

Lunch: Burrito with sour cream and cheese, romaine with pita chips and fattouch dressing and some Anne's chocolate bunny grahams (yum).  Matt had bought some frozen burritos to eat on nights I worked so I grabbed one of those.  I love these lunch containers with the 3 compartments.  I'm going to have to get a few more.

Supper:  Grilled steak sandwiches on crusty rolls with provolone cheese and sauteed sweet peppers, green pepper, and onions.  I saw bags of small sweet peppers at Costco and grabbed one thinking a steak sandwich sounded perfect for a meal this week.  I noticed Kroger also had them on sale for $3.99/bag.  What I didn't use I sliced in half and frozen for future use. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Well life does seem to like throwing me curve balls of late.  After two weeks at the new job I've officially quit and with Matt's total blessing  The manager of the hotel I was working at definitely takes 2nd worse boss in history.  He told me that I was being hired in at $8/hr and would quickly go up from there when he made me manager but when I got my check for the first week discovered he'd put me at $7.40/hr.  I also discovered that he'd pretty much promised management positions to everybody.  There's nothing worse then a lying manager.  I've never seen such lousy management skills either. If he was in the military he'd be relieved of command and probably Article 15'ed out.  The final straw occurred Sunday when I was nearly attacked by irate guests due to something another coworker had done and said. It was like watching a chemical reaction going off and anything I tried to do just made it worse.  I had to call the police and there was a point I could feel the energy change and knew it could turn violent before the police got there.  No job is worth my life.  I could never return to a job where I didn't feel safe at and I most definitely no longer felt safe there.  The first day I worked they'd mentioned a front desk clerk had been attacked and hospitalized after a guest attacked them but I thought they were just trying to scare us.  The near attack on Sunday seriously shook me up.  To increase revenues they plan to allow hourly room rentals in the near future, which would draw in more prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers.  Definitely not the place for me.  So I'm back to job hunting.  I'm looking at some transcription sites and hope to test for a few companies this week. 

I didn't do well last week keeping up on the cleaning and I'll admit that it was nice today to start to put the house back in order.  Today's focus was the living room.  Another huge tumbleweed of dog and cat fur was swept up from the living room.  I'll have to take a pictures one day of these tumbleweeds because it's amazing how large they are.  I could understand if I didn't sweep for a long period of time but it gets swept a minimum of once a week.  I might take one of the dogs to the doggie self wash this week so I can blow some of the fur out they're shedding.  With these warmer temps they're shedding earlier this year. If I can get a second job I'll probably buy a dog blower so I can groom them at home instead of having to pay all the time.  I also had stacks of books on the coffee table that I'd ordered from so those needed to be put into the bookcase.  Newspapers were scattered across the coffee table that needed to be sorted and tossed.  Now the living room has been cleaned and is comfortable again.  I even washed the blanket in Lacey's crate and Oreo's blanket she has for the couch.  There are still coupons on the coffee table from the paper sorting but I'll get to those later this week.  I'd hoped to clean off the top of the dishwasher but didn't make it that far.

Tonight Matt made chicken terriyaki stir-fry and rice for supper.  I was running late leaving for work so I didn't get a lunch packed.  I picked up a hamburger and small fry at Burger King on my way home.  I had to stop at the post office and UPS store on my way home.