one little word

My word of the year: Brave

The last couple years have been hard. The losses and trials have forever changed me, and not for the better.
It's time for me to take control of Me.
Do things that aren't comfortable.
Try things that may be scary.
Make choices that are bold.

I just need to be BRAVE.


the infinite sea

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity. Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race. Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate. -Goodreads

I struggled with rating this book. At times the story just felt choppy and disjointed. The last part of the book felt like the author forgot he left some characters back at a bombed out motel and just focused on Ringer and what she was going through. That being said, what Ringer was going through was pretty mesmerizing. At that point I didn't really care about Evan or Cassie or any of the rest of them. Hopefully by the 3rd book all the storylines will come back together. The ending left me in a pretty big lurch.

rating: 4 stars


the king's curse

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII's claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter;Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret's contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.  After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret's world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and holiest woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.- Goodreads

It's a Philippa Gregory book, of course I liked it. I might even say it's one of my favorites of The Cousins' War series. I really enjoyed the voice that was given to Margaret Pole in this book.

rating: 4 stars



Einstein is 15. 

It seems as if he is growing before my eyes. He's about 3 inches taller than me and might pass the Man-Child as the tallest child soon.

I can't even put into words how much I love this boy. He is so kind and thoughtful...and pretty darn handsome.

Happy Birthday Einstein!


menu monday


menu monday

This is our menu for this week.
The recipe for Dr Pepper chicken is all over Pinterest. I'm not sure where I found the recipe originally so I didn't want to link to the wrong post.

Biscuits and gravy didn't happen last week so they got moved to this week.

egg & spoon

A fantasy set in Tsarist Russia.
Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs - Goodreads

I liked this book, but I felt like Gregory Maguire got bored and just started adding odd content into this story. It started out great and then he just went overboard with little details that didn't add anything but a distraction from the story. Baba Yaga is an amazing character, but I could have done without the modern references. The Far Side reference was weird.

It's a fun read, but annoying at times.

rating: 3 stars


menu monday

It's Fall Break for Casa de Chaos...
Which doesn't really mean much when you have kids in marching band. The Boyz have practice every morning, football games each Friday and marching competitions every Saturday. Our evenings should be a bit more relaxed during Fall Break so there will be more time to spend together. It makes it much easier to plan dinner when I know everyone will actually be home and eating at the same time.

At one time I was trying to keep Monday as a meatless meal. I've kind of given that up, but Mac-n-Cheese is a favorite. If you are still making it from a blue box please in the name of everything that is holy and good stop that right now. It's so easy to make from scratch and doesn't take much longer the the box crap. I found the recipe I use on a Betty Crocker app.

The Chicken Tater Tot Casserole recipe is here.


menu monday

Our schedule this week is a bit whack-a-doo so I'm not sure how much of this plan is actually going to happen.

Fall is kind of crazy with marching band season anyways, but this week it goes on overload. 
Monday I know is going to happen, because it's Monday. You can find the recipe here
The rest of the week is up in the air.
Tuesday the Boyz have marching band practice and Roo has a band concert with an early call time. Wednesday should go as planned.
Thursday the Boyz are marching at the football game and Roo gets to play in the stands with them. That means all 3 of them have to be at the high school by 4:30pm. Kinda hard to have dinner that early. And can I just say it: a football game on Thursday?!?
I can almost guarantee that the burgers will happen on Friday.
Saturday and Sunday are General Conference, so it is a weekend of watching conference on TV and spending time together as a family. Who wants to spend a weekend like that actually fixing dinner?


menu monday

I've been back on the menu planning routine for a couple of months and finally thought about posting it on the blog again.

We usually sit down as a family on Sunday afternoon and go over the upcoming week and what everyone has going on. This is also a perfect time to brainstorm the menu with everyone there to input ideas. I've found that I have less arguing about what we are going to have if the kiddos have a say in the upcoming menu...and I don't have all the pressure of trying to decide what to eat. It also helps when it comes time to actually fixing dinner when I know exactly what we are going to have.

I like using a task list in my Arc planner to keep it organized.

It's a complete accident that both recipes are from the same blog.

I have modified both recipes to be gluten-free for us.