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Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

The fourth book in my first Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Series was “We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark. As usual I am writing a brief review of the book with my decision to either keep the book or give it away. […]

January 2024 Oscoey Shop Update

January 2024 Oscoey Shop Update

I am pretty excited about our January 2024 shop update! We have some great pinks and red this month with new holographic stickers and a new cross stitch design. I am so in love with my Dahlia photos I had to make postcards out of […]

December 2023 Puzzles

December 2023 Puzzles

2023 was supposed to be the year of puzzles but I found all sorts of other cozy habits to do so puzzles were more sporadic but I have absolutely enjoyed doing the ones I have over the year. I thought that along with my book clean out posts I would start a monthly puzzle post for and make a goal of completing at least one puzzle a month. I really love the idea of a weekend puzzle that the family works on during down time. My kids love puzzles just as much as I do and having one out on our table to work on over the weekend sounds like so much fun!

 

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Eurographics
1000 pieces
Review: 
This puzzle was super challenging with all of the grass, trees and hedges being different shades of green. I did most of this one by myself until the last 50 pieces or so when my kids were suddenly interested. Silly kids waited until it was easy! The pieces for this puzzle were great quality and I did do the pick up test without filming it and everything stayed together which was great. I did have a couple of false fits but that was mostly due to this puzzle having a lot of glare and I had a hard time seeing if the pieces were in there all the way on some of the greener ones. I was able to figure it out pretty quickly though and overall I loved this puzzle. It was challenging in a good way and there were enough little surprises to keep me going. This was either a Buy Nothing or thrift store from my Dad puzzle find so when I was completed with it I passed it on to the seniors our Buy Nothing group supports.
I would give this puzzle 4 out of 5 stars due to the glare. Otherwise I highly recommend this puzzle to anyone that wants a challenge!
Cobble Hill
1000 pieces
Review:
Next up for December was a Christmas themed “Village Tree” by Cobble Hill which is also a challenging puzzle. I did not do the bulk of the work on this one since my husband worked on it one day when I was at work but I was tasked with the difficultness of finding random pieces and the tree and man was it challenging! I am saving this puzzle so we can redo it next year as well. This was my first Cobble Hill puzzle and overall I was very happy with it even though there were a couple of pieces that came out slightly mangled straight from the box. This would have passed the pick up challenge no problem and I originally intended to film picking it up but I had to make room for my New Year’s Day puzzle so I just put it away instead. Maybe next year!
This puzzle gets 5 out of 5 stars for being an excellent fit, beautiful picture, high quality and fun to put together!
Kids Corner: 
The kids did a couple of puzzles from our collection this month to check if we had all of the pieces before giving them away. Our favorite was the Vet Clinic by Ravensburger which it looks like is discontinued but I will link those I can find below.
The second puzzle my kids finished was this Hatchimals floor puzzle which I could not find with a quick search so I am sure it is not sold any more as well.
The third puzzle my kids finished was this Glow in the Dark Solar System 60piece puzzle. This one was pretty fun and great for the kids when they were younger. I highly recommend it! I did find this one on Amazon and the link is below if you are interested.

Looking ahead to January…

For January so far all I have planned is our new traditional 2000 piece puzzle start on New Year’s Day.

At the start of 2023 I completed “If Fish Could Walk” by Ravensburger as my 2000 piece New Year’s Day start. I really liked this puzzle. It was really fun to put together!!

If Fish Could Walk Puzzle

For 2024 I chose an easier puzzle with “Wild Kingdom Shelves” by Aimee Stewart at 2000 pieces. This one is also by Ravensburger and I am super excited about it since Aimee Stewart is one of my favorite artists.

 

Wild Kingdom Shelves Puzzle

 

I am excited to continue my focus on puzzles for 2024 with a goal of completing the ones I bought at the beginning of 2023. I made a list of a lot of them with my 2023 Puzzle Goals post last January. For 2024 I don’t want to purchase any more puzzles until I have finished a huge percentage of the ones I already have. I was going to track them on my Pinterest board but that is super clunky so this year I am going to try a puzzle tracker app and see if it works. I will report back once I have used it a bit and let you know how I like it!

 

Happy puzzling in 2024!

 

2023 Goals: Puzzles

December 2023 Oscoey Shop Update

December 2023 Oscoey Shop Update

December is upon us and it is time for another shop update. This month we expanded our Midnight Rainbow Flowers collection with the addition of a super cozy mug, pen, new cross stitch pattern and a listing for the entire collection.   This site participates […]

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

I reread The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge as part of my Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1 early in my stack of 10 books. As with my other books, I wanted to do a brief review of […]

Oscoey Shop Update November 2023

Oscoey Shop Update November 2023

Our November shop update is small but mighty in Oscoey Shop. We are introducing two different cotton canvas tote bags! I am super excited about them and hoping you like them too. Both bags feature our Midnight Rainbow Flowers design and can be used for shopping, trips storing fabric, you name it! They are sturdily constructed out of cotton canvas and can be spot cleaned. Let me know in the comments below which one is your favorite!

My first design can be found here and  is larger at 15 x 18.5 x 5with long handles to easily go over your shoulder. It is nice and roomy for a day at the beach or to pack snacks in for any outing. It folds down nicely to easily pack into a suitcase or for storage in between uses.

My second design is all black with a handy zipper to keep uncooperative items inside the tote. This Midnight Rainbow Flower Zippered tote can be found here and measures 14 x 12 x 4.3 with a 17 inch handle. This tote could fit over your shoulder or also be used in hand. I really like this one for my work items. It can fit my notebook, sandwich, extra gloves, hat and a couple of snacks excellently.

 

Thank you for reading about our new totes! We have a few items in the works for our December Shop Update so stay tuned for that soon!

 

Links:

 

Oscoey Shop

 

Oscoey Shop Update October 2023

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

At the end of September, faced with a mountain of books I had not read in almost a decade, I decided to start sorting through my books and reread any of those that I was unsure of keeping. I originally created this list of ten […]

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

When I created my post about rereading books kept in storage for too many years I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have time to read the books on my list. My post “Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1” was an attempt […]

Oscoey Shop Update October 2023

Oscoey Shop Update October 2023

Our October shop update is here! We barely squeaked it in before the end of the month but I am happy to report that all items are up in Oscoey Shop. As usual, I will slowly upload items to our Etsy shop throughout the week. If you are looking for our September 2023 update, it can be found here. We have a much bigger update for October so let’s get started!

First off we have our Skating Is My Self-Care sticker that I am really happy with. I made this for all of those ice skaters out there who feel at home on the ice and skate as a form of self-care. Ice skating is huge in our area and so many of my fellow parents have picked it up because their kids are interested in it. I love how grownups can be inspired by their kids to try new sports!

Next up is our Holographic Midnight Rainbow Snow Boot. This winter inspired rainbow sticker is one of my favorites. I had this design in my head for quite some time before I decided to put it into sticker form. I may continue this thick lines rainbow theme in future stickers as a compliment to my thin lined rainbows featured in a couple of my other stickers.

In keeping with the holographic winter theme we also have our Holographic Midnight Ice Skating Snowman available. This stylish snowman is skating across a pond under a midnight sky with our signature lined rainbow peaking out from behind a cloud. Is his expression one of excitement or slight terror? Only he knows!

To go along with our Midnight Ice Skating Snowman sticker I also did another ice skating snowman in blue tones with glitter instead of holographic sticker paper. Our Glittery Ice Skating Snowman sticker is the first of I hope many more glittery stickers.  I really like how the glitter is shiny in a different way with these stickers. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of them.

For our October shop update I also decided to do a series of three Mini Heart Stickers to add to planners, on the backs of cards or to give away as party favors. Each sticker comes in a 5 pack with other stickers of the same design. They are smaller than our Fall Rainbow Heart released last year and I have already fallen in love with them.

I did a test layout in my planner with our Glittery Ice Skating Snowman sticker and the Purple and Blue Mini Hearts and I like how they look together. I love a lighter purple and blue in the winter. Maybe it is from growing up in the 80’s with all of the pastels or my time working for a certain clothing retailer but these colors remind me of winter quite a bit.

Our newest and most exciting announcement is our tiny run of blank notebooks available in the shop. These Midnight Rainbow Flower notebooks are 80 pages and  feature our most popular design. If there is enough interest I will restock these closer to the holidays and for next year. Are there any other designs you would love to see featured as a notebook? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you are as excited about our October shop update as we are! I am still working on puzzles and cross stitching but time is very short for me right now. I am hoping to get at least one cross-stitch design out for November and maybe a few stickers as well.

 

Thank you as always for your support!

 

Oscoey Shop (U.S. and Canada)

Oscoey Etsy Shop – Those outside of U.S. and Canada.

 

Oscoey Shop Update September 2023

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

When I was in early high school I read this book called “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach. It had been recommended to me by my dad during a period of time when my family was headed towards chaos. At the time the book was eye-opening for […]


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Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 1

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 1

Whew. Another week of meal planning under our belt. We used up a lot of things this week from our pantry, fridge and freezer. We still have so many leftovers that we won’t really need to cook for the next few days but we are having sausage burgers tonight as a break. I did not have a chance to clean out another shelf from the pantry this weekend but it is ok. I ended up going to the grocery store last Sunday to do a major stockup since we were almost out of some basics and I wanted to avoid the store for the next few weeks. Omicron is weighing heavily on our minds this month and we are limiting our exposure as much as possible. That means no seeing friends, no going to the store and we are debating sending kids to school this week. Our school has done a fabulous job at preventing the spread of Covid at the school but there is always that worry in the back of your mind that maybe this time it will spread. Most of the school was tested last week and a lot of the kids were negative. Those that were positive are staying home this week so I am hoping that will keep things contained.

 

What I wanted to eat through this week.

Last weekend I went through the pantry and pulled some items I wanted to eat through this week. Below is a list of what we had:

  1. Snack items: Croutons, S’mores Goldfish, lentil crackers (3 servings), chocolate graham crackers, veggie Straws (maybe a couple of cups) and Peanuts – honey roasted and regular
  2. Meal type items: Banza Mac and Cheese (3 packets left), 2 cans corn, 1 can carrots, oatmeal
  3. Dried Fruit: freeze dried Raspberries and strawberries, apple chips, dried cranberries
  4. Junk: M & M ‘s and a single giant marshmallow
  5. Fridge/freezer items: 1 Bagel, fancy chocolate, spinach bites (2 servings), veggie broth, chicken breast, ham, milk, chocolate milk and egg nog.
Items left from last week.

I wanted to take tons of pictures and videos this week of how we were using up our items but honestly I only got pictures of most of the meals. Above is what we have left from what I wanted to eat through this week and it is kind of misleading because we did eat quite a bit but there are still small amounts left in these containers. I may put them all into smaller containers today and then show what is left next weekend but my kids immediately lose interest if I move them to smaller containers and they have been snacking out of the bags all week.

 

What’s left:

  1. Snack items: Croutons, lentil crackers (1 serving), veggie straws (maybe a cup) and Peanuts – regular
  2. Meal type items: Banza Mac and Cheese (2 packets left), oatmeal (not gf)
  3. Dried Fruit: freeze dried Raspberries and strawberries, apple chips, dried cranberries
  4. Junk: All eaten of course!
  5. Fridge/freezer items: fancy chocolate, spinach bites (1 serving), ham (1/2 gone)

Overall I would say we did pretty well. We should eat through the spinach bites, lentil crackers, veggie straws, peanuts and more of the dried fruit this week. The croutons were a hard sell and I can’t eat them as well as the freeze dried strawberries and raspberries. Most of us are not fans of the Banza mac and cheese so I may just donate it since it doesn’t expire until March of this year. My Buy Nothing group supports a local senior center and the Banza may end up in the donation bag this month. We have other mac and cheese that the rest of us like so I am not worried about running out any time soon.

Soup ingredients.

One of my favorite ways to use things up is to make veggie soup. I made a batch last weekend and we ate about half of it throughout the week and froze the rest. The broth I used is some I made in the fall with garden scraps. When I was blanching my greens to freeze I put all of the ribs from the kale, beets and chard into a pot with some onion and carrots and made a bunch of broth to freeze. This batch had a lot of beets in it so it was super sweet. I have been pairing it with a can of tomatoes to pare down the sweetness and this batch of soup was delicious! I will probably pull out some of the soup in the freezer for meals not this week but next week. I like to eat my freezer meals within a couple of months of freezing so we are constantly rotating and to reduce the possibility of finding it in the freezer years later.

Veggie soup
Veggie soup for lunch.

We ate the soup for dinner and a few lunches with crackers and a little bit of sour cream. I only used one can of the corn in the soup but it was still a little bit sweet from the beets.

corn and peas
Steamed corn and peas for lunch.

Using up our other can of corn for lunch. We are without a microwave and my son does not like corn so I put his peas in a ramekin to steam along with the corn and it worked really well! Don’t do this unless your ramekin is oven safe though. Plastic would not be a good choice.

Mac and cheese chicken corn and peaches
Using up the Banza, corn and chicken for lunch.

Our kids were home last week so a lot of what we ate for lunch was cooked and not their usual sandwiches for lunch. We ate the Banza mac and cheese for lunch with the corn and I added some of the cooked chicken breast as well. The adults in our house usually don’t eat a lot of meat so this week was a bit much for me with all of the ham and the chicken breast. I had to cut way back on my meat consumption as the week went on. I wanted to point out that I cooked one standard chicken breast and it lasted for several meals for just me. Nobody else wanted to eat it. We don’t eat a lot of chicken breast at our house so my kids weren’t really into it and my husband is more vegetarian than me so he left it for me to eat. I will say however that it was really nice to have a little bit of protein readily available to throw on my meals when I needed it. I may cook one a week more regularly since I struggle to get my protein in.

Oatmeal
Oatmeal for breakfast.

Another meal we ate a lot of was oatmeal. I discovered I could cook a large pot and reheat the rest when I needed to on the stove in just a few minutes. This was super handy since I was missing my microwaved bowl in the mornings. I bought a 25lb bag of gluten-free oats from Bob’s Red Mill a couple of months ago and we have been working through it. I really want to make one of the oatmeal bakes we love but it takes a dozen eggs and I am not sure that the ones we bought at Costco last weekend will last the month if I use that many all at once. For reference, we go through one to two dozen a week since eggs are a huge source of protein for us. It is slightly silly of me though, because there is nothing stopping us from getting another five dozen from Costco when we are close to running out but I want to avoid the store as long as possible.

ham, mashed potatoes and green beans
Ham, mashed potatoes and green beans.

One meal that lasted for several days was the ham we baked on New Year’s Eve. We ate about half of it last week and will try to finish the rest this week. I did put the bone in the freezer to make broth at some point in time but I am not ready yet and I want to eat through some of what we have before I make more. We ate it with mashed potatoes and green beans or some other vegetable. It was delicious!

Feta and tomato pasta
Feta and tomato pasta.

One meal we ate this week that has become a staple in our house is feta and tomato pasta. You basically put a bunch of tomatoes, garlic, some feta and olive oil in the oven and then stir it in with cooked pasta. It is super easy to make gluten-free and most of us love to eat it! The pasta lasts a couple of days in the fridge so it is perfect for lunches.

feta pasta
Feta and tomato pasta.

We pared our pasta with green beans and some steamed Kielbasa. Our selective eater will not eat pasta so they were given the Kielbasa, rice and seaweed so they could eat their “sushi” along with us. I always snag a little bit of seaweed when the kids eat it since it is so healthy and a great source of Iodine.

broccoli cheese bake
Broccoli cheese bake.

Wow. We ate a lot of pasta last week now that I am looking back. This week I will try to make more roasted vegetables and see what else I can come up with since one of our kids doesn’t like pasta. This broccoli cheese bake my husband made was delicious! We ate it for dinner last night and I already have it on the meal planner for tomorrow night. We are skipping a night with it tonight to avoid burnout. I am a huge fan of casseroles and I am loving that we are eating them more often.

Pantry cleanout items
Pantry cleanout items for this week.

I gathered some of the items we want to use up this week. Yesterday instead of going through another pantry shelf I went through under our bathroom sink and oh man did I throw a lot out. We had tons of stuff that expired two years ago and opened items we weren’t using up that were just old. I don’t think I have really gone through that cabinet in at least three years. I did find this dish soap that I bought for bubbles when my youngest was about two that is still good. I filled our soap dispenser by the sink with it and we will use it up as we go. I also discovered one of the pears we bought last week went bad so I am going to try and make fruit leather this afternoon. I make it with pears and whatever berries I have in the fridge and my kids love it. It is super easy to make too!

Items to use up this week:

  1. Fresh produce: pears, butternut squash, blackberries, broccoli, rainbow carrots
  2. Snack items: Croutons, lentil crackers (1 serving), veggie straws (maybe a cup) and Peanuts – regular, One bars, fruit cups
  3. Meal type items: oatmeal (not gf), pancake mix
  4. Dried Fruit: freeze dried Raspberries and strawberries, apple chips, dried cranberries
  5. Junk: Crumb cake mix, Halloween candy…ug
  6. Fridge/freezer items: Baked Alaska (freezer), fancy chocolate, spinach bites, ham, cheesy broccoli bake, tomato sauce
Meal planning
This week’s meal plan.

We started to write out this week’s meal plan as a family at dinner last night. I will probably add more in on Tuesday when I know where we are at with leftovers. The kids don’t like to commit to lunches and breakfast until usually the night before so I usually fill those in as we go. Since the adults are all working from home we usually try to eat leftovers for lunch or something fast like soup. Muffins have been requested and if I have time today I will make some of those as well. A batch usually lasts a day or two and I know you can make a bunch and freeze them but I just don’t know if gluten-free flour will hold up in the freezer as well as regular. I am almost out of my one to one Bob’s Red Mill flour and I probably only have enough for one batch of muffins right now. I did order more and hopefully it will come in the next week or two but who knows with all of the road closures around us. We do have ingredients to make our own gluten-free flour mixture so I am not super worried about running out but I like to have the pre-mixed kind on hand since it is easy.

 

How are you reducing your food waste? Does meal planning work for you?

 

Links:

Bob’s Red Mill

Feta Tomato Bake

 


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Oscoey Shop Update October 2023

Oscoey Shop Update October 2023

Our October shop update is here! We barely squeaked it in before the end of the month but I am happy to report that all items are up in Oscoey Shop. As usual, I will slowly upload items to our Etsy shop throughout the week. […]

6 year Blogiversary and Oscoey Shop Opening!

6 year Blogiversary and Oscoey Shop Opening!

In honor of my 6 year Blogiversary coming up at the end of March I thought I would share a little bit about what is going on in the Oscoey world. First, the most exciting thing, is we are opening up a retail store called […]

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

A few weeks ago I found the Uber Frugal Month Challenge over at the Frugalwoods and I was immediately hooked. What a great way to start out 2018! I signed my husband and I up and we have spent the last week reading through the daily […]

Hilarious Japanese Toilet Candy

Hilarious Japanese Toilet Candy

Have you seen these cool candy toys made in Japan? They have all kids of fun food items to make!   This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend […]


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