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 <http://booklookbloggers.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “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
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  WE LOVE YOU!

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:
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Thanks!

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. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Always Learning Something

I am a total nerd, I admit.  I am one of those people that likes to learn.  I will admit that I like learning better when I get to choose my own subject, but I am also willing to learning about other things too.  There are so many things out there that I want to learn about that I will probably never learn them all, but it doesn't keep me from trying.  Lately, I have been educating myself on crochet, business, blogging, and baking.  These are all the things that fascinate me lately so it is what I have been studying up on.
Do you love to learn like me?  Find out how I have been learning lately on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal.
One way I learn is by listening to podcasts.  I have recently begun listening to a couple different podcasts for crafts.  One is on crochet and one is on crafts in general.  I really enjoy the B.Hooked podcast which is crochet specific.  Brittany of B.Hooked is a crocheter that I have followed for a long time on her blog.  Recently I was reading something on there and saw that she had podcasts (she posts a new one every week) and I took a look to see what she talked about in them.  I liked the topics so I started listening and I was hooked on them.  She speaks about crochet to other crocheters on many different topics from business to design to how to crochet.  I am always learning something through her series.  The other craft podcast I listen to is Crafting and Coffee from Amy Latta.  I found Amy's blog years ago and was always a fan of her projects and lettering.  Someday I want to do pretty lettering like her, but I am not there yet.  Anyway, her podcast is about crafts in general and features a variety of topics.  I appreciate her insights and wisdom.  There are lots of other great podcasts out there too that I want to listen to, but just don't have the time right now.  I do take the time to listen to a daily Bible podcast as well, Thru the Bible.  I have learned many in-depth things about the Bible through this preacher.  (I was not paid to advertise for any of these podcasts, they are truly just some of my favorites right now that I wanted to share with you.  To my knowledge none of these people from these podcasts even know that my blog exists.)

I recently signed up for some different webinars or summits and have learned a lot from them.  These webinars or summits are events put on by people who are "experts" in their field.  They usually have lots of experience and advice to give.  I know that it can be hard to catch these events live because I usually can't even watch it live.  That is why I am thankful when they offer a pass to purchase access to the recordings of the summit.  Then I can watch it on my own time.  I have watched them on homeschooling, being a mom, and I just recently purchased access to a crochet business summit.  Building a crochet business is a dream of mine and something I really want to pursue so it is worth learning about to me.

I also learn by reading.  When I find a topic I like, I read all I can about it.  I get books from the library, Hoopla, and Kindle Books (that is an affiliate link - I earn a small commission for items that you purchase).  I just like to soak it all in and read on the subjects I find interesting. 

I find blogs on the subjects I am learning about.  I have done this for years and years.  Wouldn't I be a traitor to other bloggers if I didn't look to see what they had to say?  I have learned a lot over the years from blogs and found so many great ones on so many different subjects.  I am subscribed to my favorite ones so that I get an email every time they create a post and I can read it when it works for me.  I love seeing what my fellow bloggers come up with.  I have too many favorites to list today, but maybe I will make that another post sometime.

Lastly, I learn by trying.  I think the only way I can figure out if a hands-on topic has sunk in and I have actually learned about is to try it.  I could read a bazillion things about baking, but if I never baked anything it would be a waste.  So I try what I learn in baking, crocheting, decorating...and all the other topics I learn about. 

How do you learn?  What are you learning about?  Do you have a favorite podcast, book, or blog to share with me?  I am always on the lookout for more to learn about. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Summer 2019 Bucket List

We have been on summer break for a little bit now, but it hasn't really felt like summer break yet.  I've been running errands, getting things fixed, and getting us to appointments like the dentist.  So it hasn't felt anything like lazy summer days yet and I am so ready for some lazy summer days (as a mom a lazy day means spending the day at home not running from here to there).  This is why today I thought I would share some Summer Bucket List items with you.  Some of the items are fun and some are just necessary, but I am trying to find a healthy balance.
Do you have a list things that you want to do this summer?  I know that I do which is why I created my Summer Bucket list at A Glimpse of Normal.
  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Read 5 fun books
  • Sit around the bonfire
  • Go to a drive-in for a movie (I don't know if they even exist around us anymore, but it will be cool if they do)
  • Start and complete the Couch to 5k program.
  • Try 3 new ice cream spots.
  • Bake 10 dessert recipes
  • Blog every week
  • Enter projects in our fair
  • Create a school portfolio for each of my kids
  • Craft more items for my Etsy shop
  • List the items I have created in my Etsy shop
  • Teach my daughter to sew on her sewing machine
  • Plan out next year's school
  • Sell old school books
  • Finish painting several areas of the house inside and out
  • Attend more than one fair
  • Go to pick blueberries
This is my main list.  I am sure there are more things we will do, but these are the ones I can think of so far.  What is on your list of things to do this summer?

Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 2019 Menu Plan

Life has been crazy, hectic busy lately.  I guess it is a good busy because we are getting things done that we need to get done, but it feels like the days are flying by.  That is why I am happy that I menu plan.  Even on the busy days, I know that I have a plan for dinner and it is just a matter of if I will cook the meal on the stove, grill it, throw it in the crock pot, or let the Instant Pot do all the work.  Having a menu plan takes the guesswork out of one area of our busy lives.  In the meantime, I just remind myself that right now is a busy season and it won't always be like this.  Right?  If you are like us and find yourself crazy busy, feel free to just use our menu plan this month.
Check out my blog, A Glimpse of Normal, for a June menu plan that you can follow.
  1. Kielbasa and Potato Hash
  2. Mock KFC Chicken Bowls
  3. Slow Cooker John Wayne Casserole
  4. Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Salad
  5. Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowls
  6. Instant Pot Street Tacos
  7. Grown-Up Pizza Wraps
  8. Slow Cooker Cuban Beef
  9. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
  10. Shepherd's Pie
  11. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  12. Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup
  13. Philly Cheesesteaks
  14. Stromboli
  15. One Pot Lasagna Pasta
  16. Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake
  17. Stuffed Pepper Soup
  18. Brazilian Skirt Steak with Golden Garlic Butter
  19. Meatballs & Minestra Stoup
  20. Easy BLTA Wraps
  21. Pizza Casserole
  22. Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowls
  23. Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos
  24. Subs
  25. Jambalaya
  26. Mexican Zucchini & Beef Skillet
  27. Cobb Salad
  28. Dutch Oven Pizza
  29. Chicken Bacon Crockpot Chowder
  30. Turkey Taco Lunch Bowls
That is what is for dinner this month at our house.  I will definitely be keeping our meals pretty simple since our schedule is so nuts.  I keep the recipes for these meals on my June Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  I also have extras on there in case you need to swap out meals.  What is for dinner this month at your house?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Crochet Life Lessons

I love to crochet.  I am always learning something new and always expanding my skill set with this craft.  I push myself to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things with crocheting.  Recently I agreed to test a crochet pattern for a designer and I was very excited about it.  This pattern was cute and it involved making something I had not made before.  There was a firm deadline, but I had the time and I took a chance.  I signed up to test the pattern and the designer chose me as one of the testers.
Can a hobby really teach you life lessons?  Read about it on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal.
I had a week to get my piece done which seemed like something I could totally do when I signed up.  Then I had a couple of days that were a little busier than I thought which put me a little behind.  I was still plugging away on this piece.  I spent several hours one day working on my piece, gymnastics practice is always very productive for me.  Then I got home and started looking at my work compared to the other testers work and even though parts of my were measuring right, it didn't look right.  I realized my piece was gaining on the ends and it was all wrong.  I had to rip out (frog) 2 days worth of work down to row one of my pieces.  It made my stomach sick.  I was working as fast as I could and all of a sudden all of my work was gone.  My heart sunk and I knew in my gut, I was so far behind everyone else.  Throughout all of this, I was in constant communication with the designer and she was very helpful and encouraging to me.  I kept plugging away, but I was so discouraged and knew that even if I crocheted for 24 hours straight, I still wouldn't finish on time.  I started mentally beating myself up for my missteps on this piece.  I finally came to the decision that I had to tell the designer that I had failed at my piece.  She was very gracious and let me make a deal with her since I had been chatting with her all along.  I purchased the pattern since I didn't get my test piece done on time and I promised to get her pictures when I did finish.  In the meantime, I was still able to calculate size and yarn yardage for her since I did get 1/2 of the project finished in time. 

Back to mentally beating myself up....I was hard on myself.  I was so disappointed about not finding my mistake in my work sooner.  I felt guilty for the time I had spent on the work and the tasks I had put off to make such a tight deadline.  I felt stupid for continuing on with my work when I thought it was going wrong instead of asking about what was going on.  I felt crushed at having to rip out so much work.  I felt pressured as the deadline approached.  I felt inadequate and slow as the other testers were finishing their work in hours and not days like it was taking me.  I am telling you I really beat myself up over this one.  It threatened to defeat me as I continued to mentally count all the ways I was failing.  Enter my ever-wise hubby - he told me kindly that I need to let it go.  I could either keep beating myself up or I could move on.  I was trying my best to move on and the day I had to tell the designer I couldn't finish was a Thursday.  Thursdays are cardio drumming days for me and I desperately needed to take out my stress, frustrations, and failure on my drumming ball.  During class it hit me, I could either let this crochet mistake defeat me and steal my joy or I could chalk it up to experience and move on.  I chose to move on.  I had paid for the pattern so I could finish it on my timeline.  I put it to the side and picked up a project I had put aside to do the testing.  I picked up a project that was going well and worked on something I had been successful at.  A few days later, I picked up the test piece again and I finished it.  I knew that I couldn't let this project that had had so many missteps defeat me.  I couldn't let it steal my joy or my love of crochet.  I knew that I needed to conquer it and I did.  It turned out pretty and I finished getting the designer everything she needed.  Along the way I learned some good lessons:

  • Don't underestimate the time a crochet piece will take.
  • Don't ignore your gut - if you think you are doing something wrong, check your pattern and check with the designer they are happy to help.
  • Don't put too much pressure on yourself.
  • It's okay to mess up.
  • It's not okay to mentally beat yourself up.
  • Sometimes we will fall flat on our face.
  • You have to pick yourself up and move on.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Don't give up, even if you have to start over.
  • Try again.
I chose success over defeat and while I wasn't grateful for these lessons at the moment, I am grateful for them now.  I knew crochet could teach me a lot, but I didn't know that I would learn life lessons from it as well.  Who knew a hobby could teach me so much?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

From our family to yours...
We are so thankful for those who gave their lives to earn and keep our freedom serving in our military.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Spring Cleaning: Outside

Spring is here in our neck of the woods.  The weather is getting better for the most part.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

We have had lots of rain, some sun, and we even had a little bit of late snow the other week.  I am really hoping that now we will start seeing consistent warmer temperatures and much more sunshine.  Sunshine just does the soul good.  Since Spring is here we decide to focus on getting some things done outside to clean up the place and get it looking better.  The hardest part of doing some cleaning up outside has been decided what areas and fencing to leave and what to take down as some of it is in disrepair.  Today I am sharing with you some of the work we have done outside lately...

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

 We have a small woods on our property.  We have lost trees this year due to storms and beavers.  So it was more than time to start cutting up the trees and getting it stacked for next winter.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

Once the wood was brought up to the front of the property, the guys got it all cut (I took a few swings - a girl has to prove she can chop wood too, right?).  We all helped stack it and now it is in the drying process.  This wood will be burnt next fall.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

Next up was the never-ending trailer load of mulch.  We spent almost a whole Saturday and a couple of weeknights moving mulch and fixing up our two main flowerbeds.  

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

The porch area needed to be cleaned up too and it was time to replant my metal washtub planter.  

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

Throughout all of the outside Spring cleaning, our kids have helped and worked right beside us.  They know how to work hard and work until the job is done.  I am thankful for that.  Now if the dog didn't dig so many holes...guess you can't win them all.

It is time for Spring Cleaning at A Glimpse of Normal.

There is still more to clean up and more to get done, but our property is always a work in progress.  We take it one day at a time.  Until next time...