Thursday, December 12, 2019

Christmas Around the Barn and A Hidden Wall

It's almost Christmas and that means that the elves and I have been busy decorating the barn.  Okay, so they aren't really elves...more like the hubby and kids, but it's fun to call them elves so I'm going with it.  We started decorating just before Thanksgiving this year.  This is rare for us because normally I am a stickler for wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but this year Thanksgiving and Christmas are closer together so I wanted to get started a little early.  Don't worry, we didn't get the tree out until after turkey day though.   We took the decorating a little at a time and I think it is finally done and ready for you to see.  But first, let me talk about the hidden wall...
Come and check out what Christmas looks like at our barn and how I hid the wall at A Glimpse of Normal.
I have made no secret that our barn is a work in progress.  It is a 150-175 year old barn and there have been 3 homeowners in it since it was converted to a house.  I am not sure how many owners it had before it was a home and when the barn was part of a farm.  I have to do a little research to find out that info, but as far as I know, animals were really stored in the barn we live in and at one point it was part of a horse farm.  The first homeowner was the lady who converted the house from a barn to a house and she did a wonderful job of converting it.  The second homeowner was a large family and at one point they had 9 people living in this house which is just crazy to me.  The third homeowner is us.  There is your history lesson on our barn for the day.  I say tell you all this because there are still things that can be updated along with repairs that need to be made.  When we first moved in, we found a bad area of the drywall on the living room wall.  Just a small section was supposed to be cut out so that we could see what was going on, but someone helping us got a little overzealous and pretty soon we ended up having to take all the drywall off the living room wall.  Our original plan was just to rehang drywall and call it good, but the more we started thinking about it and living here we decided that we wanted to change a few things which are fine, but the wall became a low priority.  Then life happened and the wall kept getting pushed farther down the list.  The wall was just down to studs on the living room side that you could see and drywall on the other side.  It wasn't pretty but, it is real life.  Eventually, the wall got covered with plastic tablecloths for a birthday party and then it stayed like that for a while.  We are at a point that we know what we want to do with it, but now it is Christmas time and tearing into it before Christmas would be C-R-A-Z-Y.  So hubby said we need to do something with the wall to get rid of the tablecloths and hide it still.  The gears in my brain started turning and the best I could come up with is...Gift Wrapping the wall.  Yes, I really did.  No, I am not kidding.  Yes, it is temporary.  Yes, I thought it was a pretty clever idea.  You might not agree, but I think it works and it will come down after Christmas so that we can start changing up the wall.  Picture proof of the wall...

Now that I explained my craziness (do remember that this blog is called A Glimpse of Normal which may mean I am more crazy than normal...I think having kids does that to you😁), it is on to the other Christmas decorations.
This is Missy's tree.

Apparently, we can't let the dog decorate anymore.  She is confused about holidays and used shamrocks.

This is my Nativity set that hubby brought me back from a mission trip to Ecuador.  I love how unique it is.

I will try and get a picture of the outside decorations when we get more snow.  I love how the outside looks currently, but it will look even better with about 6 inches of snow.  The struggle is real because I want the snow for my decorations, but I don't want to have to drive in it.  When I do get good pictures of them I will put them up for you to see.  Until then, that is all the decorations about the house this year.  I love seeing the barn all decorated and sitting with the lights on and my cup of coffee.  You can find me sitting near the woodstove and soaking it all in.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December Menu Options

Can you believe that December is here already?  This year has absolutely flown by.  We have had a lot of fun and good times, but it has all went by too fast.  Does anyone else feel this way?  There is so much to get done before the end of the year still.  Can time slow down just a little? 
This month I am giving you menu options at A Glimpse of Normal.
I am sharing all this about time with you because I have not had a chance to sit down and plan out an exact menu plan for December this year.  Our schedule keeps changing and we have had a few things added to our calendar that will change up our menu plan.  We are also fitting in Christmas play practices, adjusting to a new gymnastics and piano lessons schedule, and I am still working on using up ingredients in our pantry and freezer so I can start restocking them for the New Year.  Working through ingredients we have on hand means that sometimes I create recipes as I go and I don't use a set recipe or I combine a few different recipes to work for what we have.  It's been a cook as I go and use up what we have kind of few weeks because I have been really needing to work through the stuff on the shelves and in the freezer.  I do promise to get back to specific and new menu plans in January.  I hate to keep putting it off, but sometimes in order to be present with my family, I need to.  So for December, I am going to give you menu options again.  I am posting links to the past December Menu Plans and you can put together a meal plan that works for your family from those.  Each of the past posts has 31 meals on them so you can pick and choose what sounds good to you.  In each post, you can get to my Pinterest board called December Menu Plan and it has lots of meal ideas on it.  Please take a moment and follow me on Pinterest if you don't already.  I pin lots of different ideas and recipes.  I also have boards for desserts, cakes, and cookies if baking is your thing. 

This December I am trying very hard to be present with my family.  I want to savor the moments with my family so I will be posting here and there, but nothing consistent.  I just want to give you a heads up on that.  I plan to come back full force in January and get back on track with a regular posting schedule.  You may notice some small changes between now and then because I am working behind the scenes on the blog.  Stick with me, I plan to make this blog even better. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Etsy Shop Update - November 2019

I went in and finally updated my Etsy shop.  It has been a long time since I updated the items in it because I was busy creating items for it.  I will be adding more items so remember to check back in often.  Here is the link to my shop:  A Glimpse of Normal Etsy Shop.
Check out all the items I just added to my Etsy shop by using the link in today's blog post at A Glimpse of Normal.
I always take custom orders too.  If you find a crochet item you love and need someone to make it, please send me a message and I will see what I can do.  I love creating and crafting.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Review of Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus

Picking out the right devotional book can be hard for me.  Some books don't contain enough in-depth substance for my liking and others are so deep that I can't understand enough of the material to get anything out of them.  It is truly a struggle for me.  This is why I was interested in receiving Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk as part of the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.  I wanted to see if this devotional book would be the right fit for me.
Check out my review of Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal
Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus is a devotional book for women that is designed to helping you find the peace that your soul is looking for.  The 240 page, hardback book that I received is filled with 100 daily devotions, a prayer and Bible verse that accompanies each devotion, questions that accompany the reading for thought, and a lined space to journal your thoughts, reactions, and prayers for each devotion. The two authors, Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, take turns writing the devotions and they cover a wide variety of topics.  Many of the devotions feature personal stories from the author so the reader can see that they relate to the topic they are writing on.  The devotions are well written and thought provoking. 
Check out my review of Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal
Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, an author, mom, and Jesus follower.  Ruth Schwenk is a blogger at The Better Mom, an author, mom, and Jesus follower.  Both of these ladies want to encourage you in your walk with Jesus which is why they wrote this book.  I truly enjoyed reading Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus.   This is the type of devotional that I look for when I am purchasing devotional books.  Each day and topic that I read through only took me 10 to 15 minutes each morning, but throughout my day I was able to reflect back on what I had read in the morning.  I appreciated the topics discussed (necessary people, loneliness, looking for God at work, being a servant, managing mountains, pride, and many more) and the encouragement given to make changes as I found them necessary in my life.  There were several of the devotional writings that I found to be convicting for me and they really made me stop and repent while asking God to change my heart about them.  I appreciated that.  I don't want to go through life stuck or having a bad attitude about certain things.  These devotions that touched my heart came at just the right moments for me to be ready to do something about them.  It took me longer than 100 days to read this book because there were times I needed to set it down and process the devotion and let God work on me.  That is a sign of a good devotional book to me.  I would definitely recommend reading this book and it would make a great gift for the women in your life.  You can purchase this book here.

*This post does contain an affiliate link.  This means if you choose to purchase using this link that I will receive a commission for your purchase.  The commission is paid by Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 7, 2019

21 Years

21 years ago today I married my best bestest friend.  Okay maybe bestest isn't a word, but my hubby is more than my best friend.  He is one amazing guy and I am truly been blessed to be his wife.  We have been through a lot in 21 years and weathered many storms together.  I am the crazy, impulsive, let's just jump in and see what happens one.  He is the let's think through all the possible outcomes, wait and see what happens one.  He has seen me at my worst, at my best, and all the times in between.  He is a rock for me, a sounding board, a safe place to fall apart, someone who makes me laugh, and is so much more than I could have ever dreamed of for myself.  God certainly put us together because he knew we would balance each other out.  As we celebrate 21 years of being married, we are both looking forward to many more years together to see what God has planned for us. 
Happy 21st Anniversary!!!  Check out more at A Glimpse of Normal.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November Menu Plan...Kind of

Happy November!!! It is kind of crazy to think that the end of the year is here already.  I am still trying to figure out what happened to the rest of the year.  It has flown by or beyond flown by, I don't know yet.  Anyway during October our computer died and that meant that I couldn't blog regularly until we got a new one.  This gave me some time to think and make some much needed decisions about my blog.  I am still going to blog.  It is something I really like to do, but I will be making some changes over the next couple of months so that I can make my blog what I want it to be. 
This month I have menu plan options for you over at A Glimpse of Normal.
That being said, we are in a super busy season of our life and I have not had time to sit down and plan out this month's menu plan.  Honestly this month is going to be busy for us and I will be making dinner on the fly many nights just using up ingredients we have here in our pantry and freezers.  I hoping that while I am winging it on dinner that I will be creating new recipes that I can share with you.  I will be bringing back new menu plans, but it probably won't be until the new year.  I need time to move things around on my blog, make some fixes behind the scenes, and still produce new content for you.  Since I have all of that going I am going to leave you with links to previous year's November Menu Plans.  I have three of them that you can check out and you can pick and choose which menu items work for you and your family.
Menu Plan #1
Menu Plan #2
Menu Plan #3
As always you can find recipes for the dinners on these menu plans on my November Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  Take a second and follow me while you are checking out my Pinterest board,  Please stay tuned for the changes I will roll out on this blog.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Update on: 41 Before 41

Tuesday was the big day, I turned 41.  I am proud to say that I am 41 because God has blessed me to see another year.  I don't mind getting another year older because I have learned a lot and tried a lot this year.  A couple of years ago I started creating a Birthday Bucket list and posting it.  You can find the 41 Before 41 post here to see the original list for this past year.  I thought it would be good to look back over my 41 list and update what I have done versus what I procrastinated about.  Let's take a peek...
I had a birthday this week and that means I am updating my bucket list from last year at A Glimpse of Normal.

Blue - Not started or a fail
Pink - Somewhere in the middle
Red - Accomplished
  1. Become a runner.  Yes, I still want to accomplish this.  It is a life goal.  Not yet...I am in better shape now and can run better, but I have not started training to become a runner.
  2. Create a better filing system in our house and stick to it.  Epic Fail
  3. Freshen up my sewing skills.  Not yet
  4. Teach my daughter to sew.  She learned some basics this last year, but we need to work on more.
  5. Remodel our bathroom.  The upstairs one just needs drawer handles and a clear coat on the cabinet.  The downstairs bathroom is still waiting to get started.
  6. Finish decluttering the boxes in the basement.  Fail - again we got through a few more boxes, but not enough.
  7. Craft more consistently.  I craft a little each day.  It is mostly crochet work, but I have worked on other crafts too.
  8. Bake something at least once a week.  I had good intentions and plenty of Pinterest pins.
  9. Start a school portfolio for my son (the best of the best work).  I have bought everything to create the portfolio.
  10. Start a school portfolio for my daughter.  I have bought everything to create the portfolio.
  11. Lose 20 pounds.  Check - thank you cardio drumming, consistent step tracking, and changing my food habits.
  12. Finish decorating our house.  I change out my decorations for every season.  I am sure I will add more and change more over the years, but I am pretty happy with the decorations.
  13. Read/listen to more books. Check - I love the Hoopla app.
  14. Watch less television.  Check - thank you books and being busy.
  15. Follow the FlyLady System - It is what works for me and I know it, so I don't know why I don't stick to it more.  Epic Fail
  16. Spend more time with friends.  I started out good, but then got pretty busy so I could definitely do better on this one.
  17. Blog regularly.  All went well until our computer crashed so I am going to say I could do better.
  18. Create more recipes.  Definitely need to work on this one.
  19. Organize my craft supplies.  I have bits and pieces organized, but I need to do better.
  20. Save more money.  This was going well and then...its a long story reserved for an upcoming post.
  21. Declutter, declutter, declutter.  Off and on I have done well on this.  I am in the process of decluttering again right now - shelf by shelf.
  22. Plan out and landscape our flowerbeds.  Epic Fail
  23. Start exercising regularly.  Check - I LOVE my cardio drumming class and Step Bets keep me accountable for getting my daily steps in.
  24. Finish 2 cross stitch patterns.  Epic Fail
  25. Try 10 crochet patterns.  Check - I am still addicted to crocheting so 10 patterns is a pretty easy goal to hit.
  26. Put up more pictures.  Fail
  27. Start writing a book.  Fail
  28. Enter projects in a fair.  Check - I won a first place for a crochet pillow this year at the fair.
  29. Clean out all of our email accounts.  I did clean them out, but then they got full again.  Time to dump them again.
  30. Learn a new cake decorating skill.  I conquered my tri-tip decorating bag.  If you have ever used one of these you know it is something you conquer.  Getting 3 full bags of frosting to fit together into one decorating tip head is no small feat.
  31. Do a family photo shoot.  We had a mini photo shoot just the other week thanks to a great friend.
  32. Say NO to unnecessary stress.  This is a process and it has had its ups and downs....again there is a post coming that had a lot of stress in it.
  33. Go on more dates with my hubby.  Fail - we have been in a crazy busy season.
  34. Expand my menu planning to include breakfast and lunch too.  Fail
  35. Create master lists for our house.  Epic Fail
  36. Host more game nights. Fail - again crazy busy life season
  37. Take better care of me.  Check - I'm exercising, losing weight, and taking some time for me when I can.
  38. Do something for me at least once a week - paint my nails, spend extra time crafting, etc.  Some weeks have been better than others.
  39. Try 50 of things I have pinned on Pinterest.  Somewhere I lost count so I can't update this one.
  40. Grow my blog.  I made small improvements, but this could use more focus.
  41. Enjoy every moment.  Some days I did better at this than others.  I think we all do that.
There is my updated list.  I didn't accomplish everything I set out to, but I am human and life happens.  I plan to make another list for 42 and will get that posted soon.  I like to have my list and see how I have grown over the last year.  Do you make a list of things to do before your next birthday?  If not, what is stopping you?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Mailbox Makeover

We have lived in our barn for almost 3 years now.  I am still working on projects around here when I get the chance.
Do you want to make your mailbox stand out?  Check out today's post on A Glimpse of Normal to see how I customized our mailbox.
One of my projects this summer was our mailbox...well actually it started last summer.  Our barn sits behind an old farmhouse (they believe it is the house that originally went with the barn, but I really need to do some digging on the history of our barn) and that leads to a lot of confusion for people trying to find our barn because you can't exactly see it from the road when all the trees are green.  When we moved in, our mailbox was just a regular old black mailbox.  It had a shelf in it that used to drive our mail lady nuts because it really served no purpose other than she would bump her hand on it all the time.  Last year we cut that shelf out and sanded the edges so no one would get cut, I had CJ paint the mailbox for me.  We used Rustoleum spray paint to paint the mailbox.  It has held up well and it has not faded in the last year. 
Do you want to make your mailbox stand out?  Check out today's post on A Glimpse of Normal to see how I customized our mailbox.
I meant to finish my project last summer, but never got the chance.  This summer I had my Cricut machine out for some projects and I decided it was time to finish up the mailbox...okay it was beyond time.  I used my Wall Decor and More Cricut Cartridge to cut out my "H" for our mailbox.  My original idea was to use the cutout as a stencil, but it didn't tape to my mailbox well since it is slightly curved, so instead, I held the H on the mailbox and traced it with a Sharpie marker.  This worked perfectly.  I was able to use Rustoleum Flat Black paint and a small brush and paint in the H.  I love how it turned out and that our mailbox is customized.  Hopefully, this will help people to not miss our driveway anymore. Originally I was going to add our house number too, but I like the look of just the H on the mailbox so I will get a sign for the post for our house number.
Do you want to make your mailbox stand out?  Check out today's post on A Glimpse of Normal to see how I customized our mailbox.
What do you think?  Would you customize your mailbox?  It is pretty easy and doesn't take too much time if you don't wait a year in between steps like I did. 

*This post does contain an affiliate link. This means I may make a small commission from Amazon if you purchase an item from my link.  It does not cost you more to purchase from this link.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Let's Celebrate!!!

Today we are wishing Missy a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  This sweet girl is pretty amazing.  She is smart, funny, kind, and loves big!  She loves Jesus, her family, her friends, and animals.  She has grown in many ways this past year and shows character traits we can be proud of all the time.  She is creative, artistic, and athletic.  We are very proud of the young lady she is becoming and we know that God has big things planned for her.
Happy Birthday Missy from A Glimpse of Normal

Sunday, September 1, 2019

September 2019 Menu Plan

Summer has flown by and now I face the reality that school is starting for us in just a few short days.  I am so ready for the normal schedule of school, but not ready for grading and lesson planning.  My brain doesn't want to yet.  I mean really who wants summer to end?  Okay, I will stop procrastinating now and get to the point.  The start of school means I need a menu plan.  It just makes life easier.  I can get dinner prepped or ready for the crockpot or Instant Pot while the kids are finishing up their schoolwork if I know what I will be cooking.  I save time and we eat dinner at a normal hour.  So here is what is for dinner at our house this month:
Come and see what is for dinner this month at A Glimpse of Normal

  1. Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salsa
  2. Mini Lasagnas
  3. Slow Cooker Hoppin John
  4. Wonton Chicken Salad
  5. Spicy Honey Mustard Pork Roast
  6. Meat Lover's Pizza Rolls
  7. Walking Tacos
  8. Ultimate Stuffed Crust Pizza
  9. Lentil Soup
  10. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
  11. Potatoes, Green Beans, and Kielbasa
  12. One Pan Mexican Quinoa
  13. Skillet Pizza
  14. Buttery Garlic Herb Pork Tenderloin
  15. Oven-Baked Hot Italian Sandwiches
  16. Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Salad
  17. Loaded Potato and Meatloaf Casserole
  18. Italian Orzo Sausage Soup
  19. Instant Pot Cubed Steak and Gravy
  20. Pull-Apart Pizza Star
  21. Carne Asada Street Tacos
  22. Moroccan Meatball Couscous Soup
  23. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
  24. Loaded Beef & Barley Soup
  25. Jambalaya
  26. Stuffed Burgers
  27. Stuffed Pizza Bread
  28. Pressure Cooker Meatballs
  29. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
  30. Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans and Spinach
This is what is for dinner at our house this month. As always you can find recipes for this menu plan on my September Menu Plan board on Pinterest along with other meal ideas too.   Feel free to use this menu plan at your house too or use it just to inspire you and give you some menu ideas.  I would love to know how you use my menu plan, so please leave me a comment and let me know. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Losing and Gaining

I've been working on me this year.  I knew it was more than time for me to make some changes and I knew that it wouldn't be easy.  I started slowly and added more as I could.  I even posted a few of the things I was doing back in April in this post.  I knew those few changes would lead to more positive changes and they have.  Let me tell you more...
Come and read how I am Losing and Gaining at A Glimpse of Normal
In May I went to my doctor for a check-up.  Overall I was pretty healthy, but there were some things I knew that I could change to get healthier.  My doctor doesn't sugar coat things for you, but she isn't mean either.  She told me the things I was doing well with and she told me some things that I needed to change.  One big change she wants to see from me is my weight.  She doesn't want to see huge changes because they don't last, just a little at a time.  I told her about the cardio drumming class I was going to and the StepBet app I use and she was very pleased with both of those things.  She highly encourages both.  We discussed a sensible everything in moderation eating plan and she told me where she would like me to be the next time I see her.  The weight loss isn't about appearance, it is about my health and getting my asthma under control and off of the asthma medications.  Of course, losing weight does change your appearance and I can't say that I won't be happy about that or that I won't be more confident in myself.  

Not long after my check-up, I was at cardio drumming class and our instructor announced that a new BTC challenge was getting ready to start.  The BTC challenge is a body transformation challenge and I decided that it was the kick in the pants I needed to get me on the right track.  At first, I thought this challenge was just going to be about losing weight, but I quickly learned that it was about so much more, it was also about gaining.  Yes, it is good to lose pounds and inches, but it is important to gain too.  The first thing I learned was something my instructor told me.  She said I had to learn to love myself right where I was that moment before I could love who I might be down the road.  I would never be able to make lasting changes if I didn't love me at that moment.  That one hit me pretty hard because I was hard on myself.  I had rolled in the self-pity for so long and beat myself up for all that I did wrong.  I wasn't loving me where I was so I worked really hard to change that.  If it was negative self-talk, I would distract myself or say the opposite of the negative.  I also started thinking about what I was eating and began tracking my food.  I knew that I didn't eat all that bad, but there were some bad food habits that I could change.  When I first started tracking my food I was shocked that some of the things I ate had a ton more calories than I ever would have guessed.  I learned that I could still have some of those foods, but I would have to balance it out somewhere else in the day.  Food tracking has helped me a lot.  I am not calorie obsessed because I do believe in all foods in moderation, I just try to fill up on protein and veggies before adding in other foods.  I move a lot more now.  Since I joined my first Step Bet I have participated in at least 4 more.  I find that if I put money on the line for my movement, I get moving.  I get to the drumming class every time I can.  I also have been taking more walks and have taken a bike ride with my kids.  I know that movement is super important for all my health goals and I am truly enjoying being more active.  Before I would just say no to things because I knew that I couldn't keep up.  Now I am trying to step out of my comfort zone and say yes.  Why not try?  Isn't it better to try and fail or be slow at something than to not try at all?  So I try.  I even said yes to a Great Inflatables race.  You know, I had to walk a good portion of it, but I survived and I had fun.  It was fun climbing over all the inflatables and I would totally do it again.  I wasn't great at it this time, but that is okay...I got out there and did it.

Overall I am losing weight, but I am gaining a healthy mindset.  I am taking it one day at a time and doing the best I can with each day.  I keep learning and keep growing because that is all I can do.  This is a journey and not a race.  I am in it for the long haul, not just the short term.  I am sharing my journey with you not because I want to brag or boast, but because I watched other people's journey and I was inspired by them.  Here is a current progress picture from my journey.
Losing and Gaining at A Glimpse of Normal
Down 14 lbs. and several inches

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Fair and Another Derby

The end of July and beginning of August was full of fair and another Bump 'n Run Derby.  It was all very busy, but fun.  Memories were made and good times were had.  Let me share some more...
See what we have been up to lately at A Glimpse of Normal!
First up was our local fair where we helped with our church tent and Missy showed a draft horse.  No, we don't own a horse.  Our fair has an open program where youth get partnered with draft horse owners and then they work with the horse, learn all about draft horses, and then show the horses at the fair.  Friends at church own 3 draft horses and suggested the program to Missy.  She wanted to try it out so we got her all signed up and she has been able to work with Lucy, the draft horse this year.
Missy started the program in April and she learned a lot from it.  She worked with Lucy several times and even got to attend a show with the horse owners before the fair so that she could practice.  When show day at the fair came, Missy did great.  Lucy did not cooperate completely like horses sometimes do, but Missy kept her cool and kept trying.  Missy showed true courage and perseverance when Lucy didn't cooperate for the decorating class.  She did the best she could and even though Lucy reared up a few times (Missy was always in a safe spot), Missy finished the decorating the best she could.  After Lucy continued to be uncooperative in the arena for the decorating class, the club leaders and the horse owner decided it would be best for Missy to show a different horse in showmanship.  This way she could still show a horse and show the skills she learned throughout the year rather than have to sit it out.  The leaders found her a great horse to show, Missy got a few instructions and off she went.  She ended up placing 5th in the showmanship class (out of 10+ horses) which was great considering 15 minutes before her class was up she didn't think she would be able to show at all.  She walked away that night with 2 ribbons - 5th place out of 5 in decorating and 5th place in showmanship.  It was a night of true perseverance on her part and we couldn't be more proud of how well she did. 

Missy got the chance to work with the draft horses again on the last day of the fair.  This time she got to work on driving the draft horses with our friends she had been working with all year long.  It was a great day for a show and Missy did a great job showing.  Her driving skills improved greatly from the first time she drove and we were really happy with how well she showed.  She didn't place in the show, but that was okay because she showed improvement.  Overall, Missy had a lot of fun in this program and working with our friends that own draft horses.  We are truly thankful for all they did to teach her, encourage her, and let her show their horses.

Next up was CJ's second Bump 'n Run derby in a town about an hour away and the weather was so much better this time.  The week of the derby, the car started giving fits.  It didn't want to stay running and racing that week was starting to look impossible.  This was the week right after our local fair, we were exhausted, and hubby got called for jury duty.  After checking everything we knew could be going on with the car and doing a lot of Google searching, we decided to contact a friend that has a towing business.  He is excellent with troubleshooting and he helped CJ and Hubby find the issue with the derby car.  He was even able to get us in contact with someone selling a car just like the derby car so we could get the part we need (yes we own a second car that will most likely get prepped for derbies now too).  So the guys finally got the car up and running so that we could head out to the derby.  CJ raced in heat one and he ran in second for a few laps.  He raced great!!!  His car took a few hits and unfortunately one (or three) of the hits were right to the coolant lines so the car started to overheat.  After his first race, CJ and Hubby were able to get the car ready to race again for the second heat that he would be in.  We weren't sure if the coolant lines would hold out, but it was worth the try.  CJ ran in second for a lap or two before he got stuck behind a stalled out car.  He got out of that mess and then caught up to finish the race in 5th place.  Overall, he raced really well and we are proud of how he did.  With every race, he is learning what he can do to improve for the next time and he is having a blast.  Now we make some repairs to the car again and hope to get in at least one more race this year.

I think that sums up our last few weeks and where I have been.  I have been a busy momma cheering for my kids.  It has been awesome to see both kids persevere, push through, and do their best.  I look forward to what they both have going on next. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

August 2019 Menu Plan...or lack thereof

I know I am a few days late and we are already in August, but I promise I have a good excuse for a late menu plan.  We were helping run our church booth at the fair that ended on Saturday.   So the first few days of August got away from me.  I have been trying hard to sit down and come up with a menu, but we have a lot A LOT going on this month.  Summer break is coming to an end for us and we are trying to soak up the last days of our summer break.  That is why I made the hard decision to skip my typical monthly menu plan.  If you need meal ideas you can look back on the following posts:
A Glimpse of Normal
I will be back in September with another new menu plan.  I promise not to let time get away from me again.  On the plus side, we have been doing plenty of things that I will be blogging about in the next few weeks.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Derby Driving

CJ has had an item on his bucket list for years now.  It is one of those crazy items that you think is just a dream, but he was totally serious about it.  His dream was to drive in a Demolition Derby.  We have always loved watching them, but I can't say that I was immediately on board with him driving in one.
Derby Driving from A Glimpse of Normal
Have you seen a demolition derby?  They can be rough, cars can flip, and so much more.  I guess that is why they are fun to watch, but it is also why I kept telling him there was no way he was driving in one.  Then a couple of years ago we saw our first Bump 'n Run style of a demolition derby.  The Bump 'n Run style of racing is more of a race combined with being able to bump opponents out of the way.  After watching a few of this style of derby and seeing many events put on by the same company, I started listening to CJ and hubby when CJ said this was a dream of his.
Derby Driving from A Glimpse of Normal
No, we aren't crazy.  Yes, we know derbies can be dangerous.  Yes, we took tons of safety precautions and installed a roll cage in his car.  Yes, we finally agreed to let CJ try out Bump 'n Run Demolition Derbies this year.  His first derby was this past Saturday and I knew that CJ was ready for it.  We found a car earlier this summer and he (along with help from a friend and his dad) got it all ready to go.  He followed all the rules for the company that runs the derbies and we added as much safety gear as we could while still following the rules.  It was HOT when we got to the fairgrounds and we knew there was a chance of a storm that night.  One storm rolled in and made the dirt track into a mud track.  That was okay with CJ because our trails get muddy and he drives his 4 wheeler on them all the time while they are muddy.  So I knew he would do okay driving.  More storms were rolling in, but the derby went on.  CJ got 4th in his heat and we couldn't be prouder of him.  He was the only first-time driver at this fair and he did really well in spite of the THICK mud.  His car still lives and his next event is coming up in 2 weeks.  We are pretty excited to see what he can do now that he has experienced racing in an event.  Here is a quick video of him in the derby:
I will be the first to tell you that I wasn't super happy about the thought of him racing in derbies.  But I know that I can't say no to everything for forever.  Some things CJ does will be risky and they will seem much more dangerous to me than they really are, I think that is just a boy thing that they do.  God poked my heart and nudged me to stop saying no and to get on board with this crazy dream of CJ's.  God really reminded me that I can say no all I want, but that in reality, He is the one in control and there is nothing I can do about that.  All the time I kept trying to say no to the crazy bucket list item, God kept nudging me to say yes.  So I did.  It is amazing the amount of peace I have about this bucket list item for CJ.  I know who watches over him and whose hands he is in and that is why I can say yes.  I also said yes to the Bump 'n Run derby because I have watched how the company that CJ is racing with works.  I have seen them throw out drivers for breaking the rules.  I have seen them stop derbies when they think something is unsafe.  They truly do everything they can to put on a fun, yet safe events.  Lastly, I said yes and got on board with this crazy dream because my kids need me to get on board with their dreams and bucket list items.  We won't be able to make all of their bucket list items happen, but we can make some happen and they need that.

P.S. - In case you were wondering, CJ is a very responsible driver on the road.  His demo derby driving stays where it belongs on the track.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Meet the Blogger

Hey there everyone!  It has been quite a while since I posted anything about myself and I have new readers, so I thought it was time to re-introduce myself to you all.  Here it goes:
A Glimpse of Normal
My name is Cassandra and I am the writer behind A Glimpse of Normal.  I am a stay at home mom of two, who you frequently read about on my blog.  I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 20 years and he is amazing.  I could gush on about him all day.  We live in the boonies in my dream barn, yes I really live in a barn, on several acres of property.  We have one dog, three adult outdoor cats, and a kitten.  Maybe someday we will have other animals, but we are good for now.

I started A Glimpse of Normal over 7 years ago and have written about many things over the years.  It is my place where I can put down all the random thoughts and ideas that roll around in my head.  I would love to narrow down my blog to one topic, but there are so many things that I love to do that I feel like I just can't limit what I write about.  I  love cooking, baking, reading, crafts, crochet, and DIY projects.  I also love sharing deals, tips, and ways we save money because it might help you too.  I love sharing how God is working in our lives and devotions that really make me think.  Sometimes I share things that are weighing my heart down or bring me great joy.  You really just never know what I will share on here.  I also do product and book reviews from time to time and find them a lot of fun.

I love all things yarn, glitter, and the beach.  I have about 4 crochet projects going that need to get done before I start the 1 bazillion waiting to be made someday.  I very rarely turn down a cup of coffee especially if you bring me Dunkin Donuts coffee.  I pin more things on Pinterest than I could ever create, but I still find myself looking for more on there.  I love to laugh and play games.  I geek out on books and math and I am totally okay that you know that.  So to sum it all up - give me all the yarn, coffee, books, shiny things, and take me to the beach.

Lately, besides reading, crocheting, and adventures with the family, I have been quietly working on getting myself healthier.  I had a physical earlier this year and my doctor was pretty happy with my plan to get myself healthy (which we talked about in detail) and she fully supports it.  The things I am doing to help get healthier is continuing to go cardio drumming every week that I can.  Cardio drumming is a lot of fun.  I will admit that I only agreed to go to one class with a friend and now if I can't go I am totally bummed.  I am also continuing to participate in Step Bet which helps keep me accountable for getting my daily steps in.  I gave up soda back in January.  I watch what I eat by tracking my food and I allow myself the occasional treat.  I decided it was time to stop waiting for someday and get healthy once and for all.  My doctor sealed that thought by telling me I needed to get a couple of numbers down to be even healthier.  I knew it, but I guess I needed that confirmation to wake me up.  When I am ready to share results, I will, but in the meantime, I am here quietly working away.

Lastly, we have some pretty fun things lined up for the rest of the summer.  I hope you will stick around and see what we have going on.  I am doing my best to balance writing for the blog and being present in real life so the blogging maybe a bit sporadic right now, but it won't stay that way for long.  Thanks for reading my blog, it means the world to me and stay tuned for more...

If you don't already follow me on social media, please take a few minutes to do so:

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!!!

From our family to yours...Happy Independence Day!!!  We hope you are enjoying your family and friends today while celebrating our freedom.  Our family would like to thank all the men, women, and families that have served and sacrificed to keep our country free.  Freedom is a hard fought for gift and we can never thank those who fought for it enjoy.
Happy 4th of July

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

July 2019 Menu Plan

July has totally snuck up on me.  Where is the summer going?  Can it please just slow down?  I know the days are longer in summer, but it totally feels like they are flying by faster than ever.  Does anyone else feel like that?  We have a busy month this month and July is starting out HOT, so you will find a lot of quick and easy meals on our menu plan.  
If you struggle to menu plan for a month, hop over to A Glimpse of Normal and check out what our menu plan is.
  1. Taco Salad Crunch
  2. Sheet Pan Breakfast Bake
  3. Green Beans, Potatoes, and Kielbasa
  4. BBQ Bacon Juicy Lucy Cheeseburger
  5. Supreme Pizza Casserole
  6. Parmesan Crusted Chicken
  7. Mississippi Pot Roast
  8. Chicken Fajitas in Foil Packs
  9. Meatball Parmesan
  10. One Pot Burrito Bowls
  11. Black Bean Rice and Vegetable Tacos
  12. Easy Mexican Pizzas
  13. Stir Fried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables
  14. Slow Cooker Hoppin John
  15. Shepherd's Pie
  16. Chicken Gyro Salad
  17. Mountain Meatballs
  18. Steak Kabobs
  19. Sausage, Pepper, & Onion Pizza Hoagies
  20. Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Salad
  21. Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
  22. Greek Steak Pitas
  23. Amazing Cobb Salad
  24. Ground Beef Stuffed Pepper Skillet
  25. Italian Sandwich Rollups
  26. Upside Down Pizza Pot Pies
  27. Amish Haystacks
  28. Fireman Bob's Spicy Crockpot Sloppy Joes
  29. Slow Cooker Beef Stew
  30. Crockpot BBQ Chicken
  31. Slow Cooker Carnitas
This is what is for dinner this month at our house.  You can find all of these recipes and more on my July Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  I hope you find this menu plans useful and I would love to know how you use it.  Do you follow it?  Do you use it for dinner ideas?  Let me know.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Happy 16th Birthday

This boy...
Happy Birthday CJ!  A Glimpse of Normal
...he is AMAZING!!!  I know we are totally biased and that is okay, but stick with us.  He loves Jesus, his family, and his friends.  He is hardworking, diligent, and loyal.  He is smart, funny, and kind.  He has his faults too, but overall he is pretty easy going.  He is our firstborn and has taught us more than we even know.  God has truly blessed us with him and we are doing our best to raise him for God.  We are thankful for him and love him very much.  Today we celebrate him.  16 years old!!!
Happy Birthday CJ!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thrifty Thursday: Ways to Cut the Budget

We have a pretty big goal this year that we have been working on.  It requires patience, diligence, and saving money where we can.  It isn't always easy to save money, but we really started looking at what we spend our money on and if there was any way to cut our budget.
Saving money is a priority in our house.  Check out A Glimpse of Normal for some money saving ideas.
Today I want to share a few ways that we have reduced our overall budget so far this year.  Some of them might work for your family and some of them may not be for you.  I am just sharing ways that we have cut our budget.
  • Change Your Insurance - I will be the first to tell you that switching insurance companies can be a headache.  It is not a fun process, but it can save you a lot of money.  We had been with our insurance company for our home and autos for over 20 years, but the rates kept going up and up even though we have never had any claims.  We had heard when we moved states that the company that we were with was not the best-priced insurance for our state.  It became true.  It took hubby and I a few weeks of looking for the best prices with the right coverage for us.  We got lots of quotes, but eventually chose a company that is based in our state so they know the state laws well.  Switching insurance will save us a lot on our auto insurance especially when we add a teen driver and we have better coverage.  We also switched our home insurance to the same company.  Our house policy is a little higher than what we had before, but we have new benefits that we didn't have before so we feel that a little bit higher price is worth it.  We also got a big discount on all of our policies for paying them all at once rather than being billed monthly.  I figured up the weekly amount that each policy would cost us and then rounded up, then I set up a transfer to savings for this amount.  This way we have the money already sitting in our savings account when the insurance bills come due.
  • See If You Can Cut Costs in Your Mortgage - We have a home loan that is only about 2 years old.  If you know anything about mortgages you know that new loans require you to carry PMI.  This is an insurance for the bank that they will be protected if you default on your mortgage.  The amount of time you have to pay PMI varies and you can usually get it removed when your home reaches a certain value.  It is not fun paying this PMI because it is money that you don't get back and it doesn't reduce your mortgage.  So whenever we have had a home loan we make it a goal to get rid of that PMI payment as soon as possible.  There are ways you can do this without refinancing your loan if you just ask your mortgage company.  We were able to do this recently and it took over $40 a month off of our mortgage.  This is over $40 that we can still pay on our mortgage, but instead of it going to PMI, we can apply it to our mortgage and pay it down a little faster.  $40 doesn't make a huge dent, but every little bit helps.
  • Cut Out TV Subscriptions - We used to have a tv subscription to a company that starts with an N.  The price of this subscription keeps going up slowly, but it keeps going up and they kept changing their content to shows we just didn't watch.  At the same time that we had that subscription, we also have an Amazon Prime account.  Prime accounts already include access to Prime movies and tv.  You can watch the shows listed as Prime as part of your membership.  So it didn't make sense for us to pay for two TV subscriptions.  We decided to cut one and just use Prime instead.  It has plenty of tv shows and movies for us to watch and they are always adding other shows and movies.  It cut our tv subscriptions cost from over $20 a month to just $10 a month (the annual cost of Prime divided by 12 months).
These are the main changes we have made lately that have saved us money.  We are constantly accessing our budget and looking for areas to cut so I am sure I will have more ideas for you soon.  Do you have a money saving tip?  I would love for you to share it with me.

*This post does contain Amazon affiliate links.  This means I make a small commission from Amazon if you choose to purchase through my links.  Your purchase will not cost you extra to use my links.