(Every time I say this, I do it with Mrs. Doubtfire's voice. I watched that movie waayyy too many times as a child.)
Gosh, I hope y'all had a great summer. A relaxing summer. There for awhile mine was quite wet, actually. We definitely had an odd summer here in Ohio. Even the Summer Reading program at my library was a bit off... Yet, I was still giddy with the idea that it's over and I have time on my hands at work. A little bit of breathing room, filled with hours of weeding and maintaining the collection....and then September hit. Programs started back up and wait, where did summer go? And the calendar is telling me it's October?!?!
A few short words on what I was up to these past few months....
I was in over my head with super hero training and boot camp library programs, surrounded by hundreds of mosquitoes (I couldn't even enjoy my backyard), full on ice cream and fair fries, caffeinated on never-ending glasses of iced coffee, and forever tired because I kept stumbling across crazy-good books and new-to-me series that.I.couldn't.put.down.even.to.get.a.little.shut-eye. <--- I'll talk about these good reads soon! Sadly, we lost a chicken along the way, but the other five are doing just grand.
Mr. B and I were busy with painting and a few home improvement tasks. But in the meantime we had many movie date nights, a couple camping excursions, county fair stops, and spent a long weekend in Frankenmuth. Y'all know how much I love this place! Gahhh, can't get enough. Christmas everywhere. All the time.
Although, I have to admit, it was odd celebrating my love for all things Christmas in 80-degree weather.
Oh, and birthdays were celebrated.
It's good to be back. :)
Next post is coming soon; until then, enjoy cuteness on little legs!
I have so many words, but they all fall short in expressing my love for you and how wonderful of a father you have always been to me.
I'm one lucky girl.
On a side note, I apologize for the silence over here on Sweet B's as of late. With Summer Reading programs in full swing at the library, I'm so busy I have no idea what I'm actually doing. On top of that we have camping trips scheduled and cabin trips to Hocking Hills.
So, I'm taking a break from blogging until September. A little breather. Relaxation when I can fit it in is much needed.
I pray you all have a blessed and safe summer, with as little mosquito bites as possible.
Planning.... our camping trip this holiday weekend. My parents have rented a space for their camper at a local campsite about 10 minutes from our house. I can't wait! I'm packing and planning snacks and food. Even though it's only a few minutes from the house, Mr. Darcy and I are staying and relaxing and vacationing camping-style. Mr. B will join us when he gets off work on those days, but I plan on staying there. I love camping, and am thrilled Mama and Daddy will be so close. Here's to hoping the skies are clear with no hail, and preferably above 60-degree temperatures, unlike the last time we went camping back in October.
Yep, last time we had hail, rain, a few flurries, and 38 degrees.
Reading.... I'm re-reading the first book in the Outlander series. Actually, I'm listening to the audio book.
Inspired by.... my spa day. It was my first time ever getting a massage, facial, pedicure, and manicure, and it may sound petty, but I'm convinced this is something every woman needs at least once a year. My husband has no idea what he just got himself into with that gift certificate.
Honestly, as I was lying there during my massage, I found my mind kept wandering to things...things I need to do, things I need to add to my to-do list, things at work, things at home, stressful things...and the list goes on. But then I caught myself. I need to shut down and stop every once in awhile. Immediately, I started thanking God for the money for this experience, that we could afford to treat myself and my friend to a much needed day of relaxation. I let go. I gave everything worrying me to God, refusing to take it back from Him as the day went on. I was in a funk these last few weeks and now I feel a thousand times better. And while it was nice, it's not something we can afford often. (Or I should say shouldn't afford often.) But it opened my eyes to how important it is to shut down for a bit and fully relax in His peace and presence. And it shouldn't have to cost a lot of money to do it. I'm inspired to make time for me every week by setting aside an hour to either meditate in His presence on my yoga mat or hide in the bathroom and paint my nails. Maybe a nap will suffice.... Who knows, but I'm committing to this! Excited about....our mini vacation to Hocking Hills next week!!!! Eeekkk! I have been asking Mr. B to rent a cabin there for years. And we're taking the pup. Eeekkk! :)
With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, it's definitely time to get those grills going if you haven't already. I mean, it is National Barbecue and Hamburger month. Over here, Mr. B grills year 'round. That's saying a lot considering we're in Ohio and most of the time the ground is covered in snow. If not snow, then barely above 40 degrees. But, of course, that has never stopped him from a burger or chicken breast grilled to perfection every month of the year.
I love this time of year because of the smells. I step outside my door in the early evening and BBQ smells greet my nose. It's welcoming. It's wonderful. It smells mighty tasty. Personally, I love almost anything on the grill, from steak to pizza, vegetables to peaches, salmon to ears of corn. Oh my goodness, corn. Grilled corn in the husk. YUM.
Here in Ohio, though, Memorial Day weekend is usually too early for our corn.
"Knee high by the Fourth of July" folks!
Occasionally, I may have some from last season still in the freezer. This is highly unlikely. We love our corn.
But one thing is a must this holiday. The grill. And anything and everything that can be grilled. Hot dogs, burgers, chicken breasts, black bean burgers, ribs, vegetable kebabs, sausage, and bratwurst. (You will never find me anywhere near a brat, by the way.) I could go on, but I'm going to stop with the burger.
This turkey burger stuffed with Munster cheese is one of my new on the grill must-haves. Of course, with all the fixin's. It's juicy, well-seasoned, and stacked.
It's something a little lighter for the summer, and will actually please your beef burger-eater of a husband. I promise.
The Munster Burger
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon-pepper seasoning
4 (thin!) slices Munster cheese
All the fixin's: caramelized (or grilled) onions and mushrooms, tomato slices, dill pickles, Romaine lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, black pepper, balsamic vinegar or your favorite BBQ sauce
4 buns, if you prefer your burger on a bun
In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey with both seasonings, working the spices well into the meat. You can use a big wooden spoon or your hands, whatever works best for you. Divide the meat into four sections. My tip for stuffing your burgers --> take the lid of a mayo jar (I always keep one on hand from a previous jar), and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Take one section of meat and divide it in half, stuffing one half into the mayo lid. Add a slice of cheese, folding it if necessary in order to fit. Add the other half of the met on top of the cheese and press down. Wrap the sides of the plastic over the meat and press until the cheese is encased in the meat, pinching the sides together so the cheese won't leak out. (If it does, no big deal, it's just extra delicious.) Unwrap the meat, pick up the mayo lid and flip out the burger onto a plate. Continue with the other three patties. Chill the burgers in the fridge a few hours or overnight.
Heat up the grill and cook your burgers until well done. Top with anything you like. WHile Mr. B figures the more the merrier, I prefer my Munster turkey burger on a big leaf of lettuce, topped with a couple slices of tomato, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a dash of black pepper.
*Note: I forgot to take pictures of the burger-making process, so I'm adding a link for you to get a visual of what I'm talking about. Check out this blog for an example until I post my own photos. When I stumbled across this "how to" post, I was excited to see I wasn't the only one being resourceful in the kitchen! (Plus, I love the size it makes the burgers.)
1. Flowers. So pretty. I'd like to see a show of hands. Who has a husband that decides a purple section of plants would look perfect against the house? Yes, this wife. Right here! Never loved him more. He gets me.
2. And speaking of planting...earlier this month Mr. B and I planted our garden. As of right now, with all the high 80-degree weather, we look like geniuses.
3. It's National Thank Law Enforcement Week. And today is Police Officers Memorial Day. Please, hug a cop. Okay, if you know one really well (like, if he's your husband, wink wink. actually, he's a deputy, so he gets more hugs, wink wink) have at it. They keep us safe. They see people at their worst. EVERY.DAY. I can't get into this topic too much, with what's been going on in our country as of late with the media and law enforcement and such, because I break down in tears every time, but I just want to say instead of pointing accusatory fingers at the cop, why not look at the criminal the cop was up against. The number of times that person has been in jail. What kind of human being that person was. And then decide if you're brave enough to interact with that on a daily basis. If you could handle that every day. What would you do in that one split second when it comes down to you coming home to your family?
4. Oh, and we stained our deck. That was quite the adventure. Epic. But it looks, oh so GORGEOUS with our new table umbrella.
5. So.... I have a spa day tomorrow planned with my bestie, thanks to my anniversary gift from Mr. B. I'm more than ready to be pampered, adored, and to mark off one of my bucket list items.
6. And this. Starbucks. It has kept me entertained. Daily. Oh, the names. I wish I had taken a photo of every name I ever received on my cups. Laughs for days.
Let me tell y'all about these reading challenges I've been obsessed withconsumed with doing.
I know I mentioned them a few times in past posts. I hinted to them here and there, but I don't think y'all understand how FANTASTIC these reading challenges are. As if you need another reason to read, or another reason to make reading fun, these are THAT reason. I promise.
Honestly, I can't remember who started them or who found them, but my co-worker and I are in the midst of dozens of these challenges. Last spring, we found a few BINGO challenges on the Internet, which were the beginnings of our madness. One was an audio book challenge, the other full of random fun.
Soon the "BINGO!" texts were flying back and forth, and since we share an office, it was quite easy discussing which squares we had yet to mark off, how many BINGOS we had, and what books fit what criteria. For example, I read Labor Day for my "a book that became a movie" square and Seraphina for "a book with non-human characters." A few of my audio books were Doll Bones for "an audio book that scared me" and Hokey Pokey for "listened while cooking." For both of these BINGO challenges, we gave ourselves the full year to complete the card. It was so much fun, and for a few squares, like "a book with a one-word title" (for that I chose Fangirl), I had to dig into my TBR lists to find a book that would fit. It encouraged me to read books I'd been putting off or ones that have been on my list for months.
A BINGO card like this would be great for book clubs, especially when you're not sure what to read next. Once everyone has agreed on a square, for example "a book based on a true story" (for that I read Wild), then the group can vote on a title that fits the criteria. This is something I've been meaning to bring up to my own book club. They are all fully aware of my love for these reading challenges. However, I'm sure they are not aware my love has turned into an addiction. One I'm slightly embarrassed by. But not really.
These cards were quite fun. It was our new thing. And then we found a group on Good Reads which featured their own reading challenges. Ummm, a couple groups, actually. (Not that we were searching for them, ahem.) My co-worker and I were like kids in a candy store.
One group we found, A Million More Pages, has a monthly "Scavenger Hunt" where you have 20 words you need to find while reading. You can't find them all in one book, the most for one title is five words. Once you find your 20 words, "congrats!" you finished. I've been participating since last August and including this month (May) I have finished a month's entire list TWICE. Any words you can't find rollover to next month's list and so on. Seven months later and I'm still searching for that bloody "hayride."
On the discussion boards, once the group moderator posts the word list (and you can bet we're checking as soon as we get up on the first of the month), members then re-post a copy and cross off the words as they find them. I could glance at what books other participants read for that word, but to me that takes the fun out of stumbling across the needed word while reading and shouting out (to no one in particular) "FOUND ONE!!!" For example, in the book I finished on Monday, Dancing with Fireflies, I found FOUR words from this month's list: lampshade, mother, five, and butterfly. (FYI. I was super stoked to find lampshade. I thought for sure I was going to have to rollover that one.)
This makes reading so much fun.
Other reading challenges I participated in recently consisted of spelling out words using a book's title or author first/last name, a few book cover challenges (like, the number of books you can read in a four-month period with an actual book on the cover), and monthly mini challenges. For instance, the group Wacky Reading Challenges' mini May reading assignment was to read one book that fit each of the four criteria: read a book whose title begins with "M"; read a book that is #2 in a series; read a book in which the main character is a mother; read a book with a red, white, or blue cover. As of today, I have four of the four tasks completed. Yay! Go me! Finished! (It's those Christian romances...I devour those.)
And there are so many more reading challenges!
But, I see this post is a tad long already, so I'll share a few other reading challenges in another post.
I hope this gives you an insight as to what I mean when I mention reading challenges, and if you love to read, or read a lot or read a little, or need a reason to read, definitely check out a few of these fun challenges.
It's perfectly okay to do just one challenge at a time. Or just do the monthly scavenger hunt. You don't have to become obsessed like me. I think I have about 30 different challenges going on right now....