Monday, March 11, 2019

Winter-y Days

There are some days it's so nice not to have to be at work before the sun comes up and this morning was one of those. It's so beautiful outside in its starkness with the trees frosted, a light scattering of snowflakes and the fog in the distance. These are the best mornings for sitting on the couch and sipping on a cup of chai tea as one plans one's day.

It looks like it might be a nice day. It's currently 8' out and the forecast is predicting 25'! Temperatures that are above 0' practically swoon worthy! Okay, a bit over dramatic BUT we're tired of the arctic weather temperatures and the record amount of cold weather we've been having up here. We've had a record 28 days of below 0' weather so we're hoping this warming trend continues. The vehicles are starting to have issues with these continued low temperatures too, even ones that typically have no problem. Temperatures this low are hard on the engines.

Plans for the Day:
  • Organizing my office area in the living room better so I can get my new printer set up. I have to get the printer set up today as I have a bunch of papers I need to scan and get sent to my insurance and Worker's Comp. Keeping up with the Worker's Comp is taking more time than I thought it would and they still haven't approved my claim yet so I haven't been paid. It's becoming a little bit more than frustrating. 

  • I also have physical therapy this afternoon so I'll be gone at least 2.5 hours for that.

  • I plan on visiting Mr. B's dad after physical therapy as he's still in the hospital.

  • Set up my business Facebook page.


Last night I'd planned on making a roast chicken in the Instant Pot but we didn't get home until 7 pm so that wasn't going to work. I had some thawed hamburger in the fridge so I decided to try making salsbury steak for supper.

I don't remember my mom ever making it when I was growing up but I do remember having it in the frozen TV dinners on occasion. It seemed an easy enough recipe and ended up tasting great. Find the recipe HERE. I did use low-sodium brown gravy mix.

Mr. B said "Tasted better than if we'd gone to town!"

Sides were mashed potatoes and buttered corn.

This was a great budget meal and cost less than $6 for the whole meal. I'd gotten a clearance deal on hamburger a while back so that was only about $2 for the meat, the gravy packets were probably about 90c each, the corn was 88c for the bag on sale and I used half the bag, and the Idahoan mashed potatoes were $1. I had everything in my pantry so that was a huge plus. I was going to grab some rolls and heat them but forgot.

The recipe made about 8 patties so this would have fed four people. If I were feeding four people, I would have made 2 packages of the mashed potatoes and used the whole bag of corn. I think I might also have increased the gravy as we like gravy on everything so maybe another packet of that. I only ate one patty myself and Mr. B ate two. I have leftovers in the fridge for our lunches.

Some planned meals for the week include:

Roast chicken and sweet potatoes
Shrimp fettuccini and salad (for me)
Hot Dogs and baked beans
Brat burgers and potato salad
Pancakes and sausage


Purls and Potions: A paranormal cozy mystery (Vampire Knitting Club Book 5) by [Warren, Nancy]    Witch Summer Night's Cream (BEWITCHED BY CHOCOLATE Mysteries ~ Book 3) by [Hanna, H.Y.]   Living Lagom: A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life by [Thoresen, Maya]   

A new book came out in the Vampire Knitting Mystery Series!!!! I'm so excited I've got it downloaded for my next read.

Witch Summer Nights Cream  - 57% completed

Living Lagom - 51% completed

Cozy Minimalist Home - 43% completed

Saturday, March 9, 2019


Physical therapy, doctor's appointments, Mr. B's dad was put in the hospital and visits with him, car breakdowns (see below), and attended a wedding. I feel like I haven't had a chance to catch my breath lately! All I want today is a simple and relaxing day after a hectic week.
Mr. B wants us to go snowmobiling today. I'm hoping he'll let me stay home but I have a feeling it's just wishful thinking. We have his family arriving throughout the day that will be staying at his dad's farm.

We all watch things on videos or TV and think we know how we'd react if it ever happened to us. I learned otherwise. I was heading into town for my physical therapy appointment when my front tire broke off and it rolled down the road in front of me (told you it had been hectic!). I learned that these moments are surreal and I didn't react at all. I remember thinking to myself "so that's what this is like." Called Mr. B and he came out and picked me up, took me to physical therapy and then met the tow truck. Isn't he awesome! He picked me up after my physical therapy appointment and we went to the garage where he had the Jeep towed. We have no idea why the lug nut posts broke off but thankfully it was a fairly cheap fix and he was able to do it in under an hour.

Then I was heading to Minot for my appointment with the specialist when I noticed smoke pouring out from under my hood and through the vents in the Jeep. Talk about scary! I was so worried it was on fire or would catch on fire. I was fortunate that I was close to the garage and drove it in. Thankfully it was only the water pump. I had to be rescued again though, this time by Desi, who kindly drove me to Minot for my appointment. It was her third day in a row having to drive someone to Minot for doctor's appointments so she was a great sport!


I finally got to break in my new-to-me KitchenAid mixer. Today for lunch I made Mr. B a homemade pepperoni pizza. I apparently have been depriving him of the homemade version because he ate nearly the entire pizza by himself! I used this recipe - pizza dough 

The dough takes about 15 minutes to make. A jar of pizza sauce or tomato sauce, pepperoni and a bag of mozzarella cheese makes it a fairly easy meal and typically less than $5, which makes it a great budget meal. A bag of pepperoni makes us about 3 to 4 pizzas so it's cost effective.

The kids went to Minot Friday so I picked up Bella from school and we made these Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies from Pretty.Simple.Sweet.

These were a definite hit and will be added to my recipe box for future batches. The vanilla pudding gives a wonderful boost to the flavor. I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips. 


I haven't gotten to read much this week as I've been on the computer nearly constantly. I did treat myself to lunch at Rancho Grande in town and enjoyed reading more of this cozy mystery while I sipped on my Marguiretta after my doctor appointment. I'm a little over halfway through the book so I should be able to finish it off this week, especially with another doctor appointment, this one in Minot.

I did download The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and there are a couple other business books I want to read. Years ago I read The 7 Habits but I don't remember anything so it will be a good read for me. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 2019 Ramblings

New air boot


It's definitely been an interesting month. I got injured at work on the 12th and I'm still off work. Initially, I ended up on seven days of no weight bearing and crutches. Went in for a follow-up appointment a week later and ended up with more x-rays, getting an air boot put on and getting an orthopedic surgeon referral and physical therapy referral and another seven days off. I'm waiting for a phone call with my appointment dates. I'll have to go to Minot for the orthopedic surgeon as there are none closer. I was supposed to go snowmobiling this weekend but that doesn't look like it will be happening.

I'm going to look at this downtime as a blessing. I mentioned last month that I'd started a virtual assistant course so I'm working on that. I'm also working on their tech courses and just finished with their Trello training module. I think I'm going to jump into their new LinkedIn module next. I'm still working on a name for the business. I really need to get that pinned down so I can order my EIN number.


lil dude totally focused on a cartoon
I figured that since I was going to be laid up for a while I would grab Jasper and bring him up so Desi and I drove down to Jamestown and got him. Mr. B wanted us to road trip with him to taking grain to the elevator. Lil dude, unfortunately, started throwing up on our way out to the farm so I had to turn around and bring him home. He appears to be fine now. Thankfully I'm well stocked with Gatorade and juice. We did manage to go with Mr. B the next day. The crew next door has been having this stomach bug over there so I'm assuming he picked it up from them.

I started a crockpot of chicken and noodles after I got back home and got lil dude's coat and clothes in the washing machine. I figured it would be good for whatever bug is going around. Mr. B won't eat it so he can have leftovers. A big bowl of hearty chicken and noodles sounds good.

I still need to take the car into the shop to clean it out. I'll hose his car seat off and let it dry in the shop. Hopefully, he didn't get vomit on anything non-washable.

Yup it's Prairie Gypsy and Mr. B
The Hadster after enjoying a cupcake
For Valentine's Day we went to Corrigador Bar for supper. They'd advertised they were having lobster tails. I haven't eaten lobster in ages and it sounded so good until I saw the price they put on them. I ended up getting a ribeye steak instead. I'll buy a frozen one and make it myself. We had a fun time with the kids despite having the worse service in history.

It was interesting to maneuver on crutches in deep snow, to say the least. Needless to say, I'm very glad I have the boot on now as it's so much easier to maneuver.


lil dude's on right with apples in middle and mine on right
For today's road tripped I'd packed a nice bento style lunch for lil dude and I. His (left) was ham slices, gouda cheese, munster cheese cubes and apples.

My bento style lunch (right) was a ham and lettuce wrap with Spicy Ranch, gouda cheese and apple slices.

Saturday I made some pancake bites. As you can see from the pan (below) they disappeared pretty quickly so I'll call them a success.

To make these yummy breakfast treats (or anytime treats), just mix up your favorite pancake mix per package. I used Bisquick to make these. Then fill the mini-muffin cups about 3/4 full and add whatever you want. I flavored these with mini chocolate chips, blueberries, grape jelly and cherry jam. Bake at 350' for about 12 to 15 minutes (make sure they're golden brown on top). I think this made 36 bites.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January - Welcome 2019!!!

Wow, January has flown by already and it's been a busy month! 

Our temperature today is -35 with wind chills in the -40's. I'm dreaming of a warmer climate! I'm so glad I wasn't scheduled to work today or tomorrow. Friday is supposed to be back up in the 20's which will seem absolutely balmy after these arctic temperatures.

Thankfully my Jeep has started every morning that I've needed it to. We did put it in the shop yesterday morning just to be sure I could get to work. I couldn't believe how many people called in the night before without knowing what the roads would be like the next day. Yes, there was a travel advisory out, but the roads were almost totally clear when I drove into work. It might not be a huge thing in most fields but when you work in the medical field, staff not showing up is a huge problem.

This morning I got up and did 35 minutes of yoga (on Gaiam TV) targetting the neck and shoulders since my back has been tight - a hazard of working as a CNA. Lunch was some leftover BBQ pulled pork I made Sunday. On Sunday I also did a batch of low carb chili to take for my lunches. I was nice and shared some with my traveling nurse since I know she can't make food like that in her hotel.

January 2nd we went snowmobiling with about a dozen family and friends. We rode from the farm to Rugby, stopped for lunch at the Eagles in Rugby, rode to the bar in Balta and then rode back to Wolford through Rugby. We stopped at the Corrigator bar in Wolford for supper before returning to our place. The trails weren't in the best shape as there had been a ride earlier that day so the trails had gotten pretty torn up especially when we returned. We saw a herd of deer that ran out of a slough and Mr. B's brother found a 4-point antler laying on the ground in the field he picked up to take home. Mr. B's sled broke down so he had to be picked up and his sled loaded to bring back.


Lil Dude enjoying his strawberry margarita (virgin)
My poor son was diagnosed with a huge kidney stone mid-month. Surgery was scheduled for the first week of February and all of a sudden I got a call on the 21st saying his surgery was the next day! Talk about having to change gears quickly! I had to pack and drive down to Jamestown so that I could drive him to Fargo the next morning. I decided to treat myself and stay in a hotel. My second thought was the pool would give my grandson a way to wear off some energy before having to be confined with me at the hospital the next day. 

My son was supposed to have surgery at 11:15 am, but they didn't get him into surgery until almost 4 pm.  While he was in recovery, I made the decision we would stay in Fargo for the night. The news reports were already advising that I94 was already becoming slippery and I didn't need to slide off the road with my son still coming out of anesthesia and my 3-year-old grandson, so I got a hotel room in Fargo. I'd planned to take lil dude to the pool to wear off some energy, but after a whole day of dealing with him at the hospital I was just too tired and let the TV entertain him. Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep as he woke up at 1:30 am crying, pulling on his left ear and it took several hours before he fell asleep again. Needless to say, I came home totally exhausted.


I've been toying with trying to find a job working from home but hate the idea of dealing with other company's office politics and drama so I've decided to launch my own business. I was hired by an online transcription company but they take most of the profit away. I waste so much time having to research online that they pay isn't that great. I really want to work 40 hours or less and be able to set my own schedule again. I miss having my pet sitting business, but it's just not workable where I live. 

So based on my skills I've decided to launch a Virtual Assistant and Transcription business. There are a lot of things about launching this type of business I wasn't sure about so I researched and decided to join the Virtual Savvy Bootcamp and Savvy Tech Training courses. I found programs ranging in price from $300 to almost $5000, Abbey's program is somewhat in the middle ranging from about $1000 to $2600, depending on how many options you want. I added the Savvy Tech option as I know I need to learn some new programs and felt the cost for a year was affordable, especially since she adds about three new courses every month to chose from. If you're considering a change into the Virtual Assistant field, please check out their programs (and yes I will get a small reimbursement if anyone signs up).

Virtual Savvy Homepage

Savvy Tech Training

Jump Start
The Jump Start program was free when I took it but that might have changed.


In the Shadow of Denali (The Heart of Alaska Book #1) by [Peterson, Tracie, Woodhouse, Kimberley]  Hanish: House of Storms (Dragon Guardians Book 6) by [Grove, Scarlett]  Hygge: The Complete Book of Hygge To Discover The Danish Way To Live Happily by [Jensen, Sarah, Nielsen, Carl]  Dark, Witch & Creamy (BEWITCHED BY CHOCOLATE Mysteries ~ Book 1) by [Hanna, H.Y.]

I was able to read about a book a week, which for me right now is doing pretty good, and makes my Kindle Unlimited subscription worth keeping. I liked Dark, Witch & Creamy, so I downloaded the next book in the series. I haven't quite finished In the Shadow of Denali but I'm 75% done with it, and I'll be downloading the next in that series also. Hanish was an amusing romance.  I've downloaded Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith, The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker, Witch, Chocolate Fudge by H.Y. Hann and Aquaponics by Celine Walker for future reading.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

December Ramblings

Well, the New Year is here and hopefully this year will be filled with blessings and not fly by quite as fast as last year did. I pray all my readers had a great holiday! Working in the medical field makes holidays difficult, to say the least, and caused crazy scheduling. I felt like I never could get caught up or catch my breath. I was blessed my son and lil dude were able to join us although they returned home the day after Christmas so I didn't get much time visiting with them.

The day after Christmas I got stuck at the hospital overnight because of an incoming snow storm. The hospital informed us we were not allowed to leave if we couldn't guarantee that we could make it back in the next morning. I couldn't guarantee I could get back in so I had to stay. I decided to make it an adventure and went out for supper at my favorite Mexican joint in town (okay it's the only Mexican joint in town). Nothing beats a nice margarita to help a girl relax! I had put a bag in my Jeep with a pair of scrubs and other necessities along with a few food items just in case of such an event and was thankful it was there. The one thing I forgot to pack was a pair of pajamas so I stopped and grabbed some at Shopko after I ate supper, which helped kill some time. After returning to the hospital I made up my bed and then decided to try out the jetted tub for a relaxing bath. I was amazed at how well I slept. I was glad to go home to my own bed the next night though and Mr. B was very happy to have me home.

Right before Christmas, we did a road trip to pick up used oil. Mr. B has a furnace in the shop that reuses oil and we were low on oil to heat the shop. All our water pipes come from the shop to the houses so it's important they don't freeze and the shop has to be heated. He gets used oil from farmers and garages after they change the oil in vehicles or equipment. It was a beautiful day out so I took a lot of pictures while he was driving. Mr. B's brother also picked up some used oil by him and brought it up so we were able to get enough oil for at least a couple months.

Mr. B and I attended a wine pairing at Marie's in Bottineau on December 12th. It was a wonderful night of wines and food serviced in six courses. Mr. B won us a bottle of wine and a Fireball t-shirt. We returned home with several bottles of wine and the leftover cheese from the appetizer tray. It was something Mr. B had never done before and I was worried about him eating anything, but he was a sport and tried everything.

On the homefront I decided to finally break down and clean the oven, which I don't think has been cleaned since Mr. B's wife died four years ago. I felt it really needed to be done before I cooked the Christmas turkey in it. Unfortunately, the oven doesn't have an auto clean feature so I had to use Easy Off Extra Strength and a lot of elbow grease to get it clean. It was so bad I had to spray and let it set a second time before I finally got it clean.


I did manage to get some reading done in December. A lot of it focused on Hygge and Logam.

Hygge: The Complete Book of Hygge To Discover The Danish Way To Live Happily  Living Lagom: A Swedish Guide to a Balanced Life  Sweet Tea and Southern Grace

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

November 2018 Ramblings

It's hard to believe that November is already over and Christmas is just weeks away. I'm listening to Celtic Christmas songs on Pandora as I type this. This whole year has felt like it's been on fast forward and November continued that way for me. November started off with snow for the third year in a row.

I still love the look of frost on windows. As a kid I use to use my nail to make designs in the frost. The frost on the morning I took this picture looked like swirls.


I was able to do a couple road trips with Mr. B to haul canola to the elevator in Velva. We had to load the semi trailer up (top left) before we left. When I got out of the semi to move a truck for them I noticed a lot of deer tracks (bottom left). The elevator is about an hour and a half away plus wait time so it takes up a good portion of a day. We had several trucks ahead of us so we ended up waiting probably close to an hour before we were able to unload. We can watch the trucks go down onto the scale and then head to where they unload (right pictures). The slope down to the scale can get really slippery and we saw one truck slide a bit. Thankfully a truck came out and put some dirt down right before we went down.

I was super excited I was going to get to go on my first overnight trip with Mr. B to take wheat to Grand Forks, actually I was going to go two overnight trips with him. Unfortunately my adventure didn't get too far. We hadn't gotten far down the road when we noticed the lights on the back of Mr. B's boss's trailer started flashing and then we noticed the taillights were out on one side. A quick phone call as Mr. B dodged pieces of tire in the road and we pulled over to figure out what was going on to discover that one of his boss's back tires had peeled off and had ripped out his taillights and wiring and the wiring was wrapped around the axle. The tire had then flipped up and put a HUGE dent in the back of trailer. We switched semis and brought back his boss's to his farm and my adventure sadly ended. The trailer is now in Fargo for repairs.


On my birthday I arrived home after work to find a present (a candle) and this cake that Mr. B's granddaughter, Bella, made for me. Mr. B took me out to the bar for supper later in the week.

I had to work Thanksgiving this year so Desiree cooked everything but the pumpkin pies, which I made. It was so nice after working a 12 hour shift to not have to cook. I was surprised that they provided workers a full Thanksgiving meal although after eating all that good food it was hard to go back to work. We had a small gathering here this year as my son had to work and lil dude was with his mom. I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Meal at work


Stockings and Spells: A paranormal cozy mystery (Vampire Knitting Club Book 4)How to be Chic in the Winter: Living slim, happy and stylish during the cold seasonDaddy Bear (Return to Bear Creek Book 1)

I waited very impatiently for 'Stockings and Spells' to be released on November 28th and read it in two days. Now I need to find another cozy mystery series to read since I have no idea when she'll release another book in this series. 

I enjoyed 'Daddy Bear;' although, I wish they'd stop putting such graphic sex scenes in the books. I've gotten to the point I just skip over them. Otherwise, it's a nice romance and I'll probably read more from this series.

I'll be honest I was a bit disappointed with 'How to be Chic in the Winter'. There was really nothing there I haven't already read somewhere else. It mentioned menus to keep your chic figure but all she states is she eats a lot of salads. I for one don't like a lot of cold foods in the winter so eating salads every day won't work for me. Also, a salad isn't going to sustain me on negative temperature days, I need something that will sustain me. Soup and salad works better so I think I'll try and prep more soups to freeze and take to work. Salads are on hold with the lettuce ban right now. 

Books I have on Kindle to read next:

The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English CountrysideSweet Tea and Southern GraceThe Buddha Walks into the Office: A Guide to Livelihood for a New Generation

Saturday, November 10, 2018

November Ramblings

We're already 10 days into November and I ask again, where is the time going?  I've been way to busy and as usual need to find a balance. It seems like just yesterday I posted and it's actually been about 3 months.

The Prairie Gypsy may be traveling in the near future so watch for more on that.


I was finally able to get lil dude for a week last month! I miss that little tike. He got to go out in the tractor several times with Mr. B while I was working and he loved every minute of it. It's amazing how well he jumped into riding in the tractor during the harvest with one day being nearly 11 hours and still got upset when I went to pick him up because he didn't want to leave until he realized Mr. B was leaving too.

Our family loves Mexican food so we tend to go for Mexican whenever possible and this visit was no different. Desiree and Hadlee joined lil dude and myself for lunch at Rancho Grande in Rugby. When lil dude saw Desi's strawberry margarita he wanted one so I ordered him his first virgin strawberry margarita and he was in heaven! 

I found this adorable dragon costume at TJ Maxx in Minot for $20 a couple weeks ago when I went shopping. The picture doesn't show the adorable long tail on it. He loved it! Sometimes when he went to show people the costume he'd hold it by the head and walk around growling. I had to laugh because Desi and I were at the bar for supper the other night and I noticed Hadlee was growling. Desi said she's been doing that and then it clicked that I'd seen lil dude hold the dragon head up to her and growl and now she's imitating him!


1-3)     I read the Vampire Knitting Club series by Nancy Warren. Currently there are 3 published books out and the third is due out this month. I read all 3 books the series is that good! It's a pretty calm book unlike a lot of books with vampires in them. They were light reading, which I needed, and totally enjoyable. These are free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I'm impatiently waiting for the next book.

Crochet and Cauldrons: A paranormal cozy mystery (Vampire Knitting Club Book 3) by [Warren, Nancy]Stitches and Witches: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Vampire Knitting Club Book 2) by [Warren, Nancy]The Vampire Knitting Club: First in a Paranormal Cozy Mystery Series

4)     The Autumn House by Alison May. A continuation of her seasonal series for the home. Lists of things that should be done in the fall like furnace maintenance to little treats for yourself.  

The Autumn House (The Seasonal House Series) by [Alison May]

5)     How to be Chic in the Winter by Fiona Ferris.  A continuation of Fiona's How to be Chic series and appropriate for the season. 


I was finally able to pick up my WIP (work-in-progress) project that I started 2 years ago. I had to rip out a huge chunk of what I'd completed and redo as I'd messed up the band on the edges so I'm now where I was before I ripped it back.  Hopefully I'll be able to complete this project soon as it's on large needles so it works pretty quickly so I can post a picture of a finished garment in my next post. I have the perfect floral print thermal top to wear with it too.

Winter-y Days

There are some days it's so nice not to have to be at work before the sun comes up and this morning was one of those. It's so bea...