Simply the Simmonds Life

family, life and love on the lake

Highlight Reel January 7th-13th, 2013 January 13, 2013

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:38 pm

movie-reel[1]Monday 7th:  I decided to stay home from Scouts while Zach went by himself.  I really wanted to finish rearranging and reorganizing my kitchen cupboards.  At Scouts, Zach had his first Fly Fishing Merit Badge class.

Tuesday 8th:  I went to TOPS tonight and was relieved to see the scale drop another 2.4 lbs.  Christmas, New Years and the 3 weeks without a weigh in really did a number on me.  I had to work like crazy to take off all the Christmas cookies, candies and New Years appetizers and cocktails.  After TOPS I headed to my Book Club for our first author SKYPE.  Fun!

Wednesday 9th:  Zach had his Student of the Semester award ceremony and afterwards we celebrated by going out to Poncho & Lefty’s for supper.

Thursday:  Jeff has been on vacation all week and the weather had not been cooperating.  Today the weather was nice enough that he packed up his fishing gear and him and his brother went ice fishing on Farm Island Lake.  He didn’t come home with anything, but he enjoyed the time he spent with Ryck.  After work I dropped my car off to get some work done on it, Jeff picked me up and we went home for some Shrimp Scampi and rice.

Friday:  Jeff is always complaining I never take off any time when he’s on vacation so I took the day off to be with him and we had an ice storm last night and the roads were so slick we didn’t go anywhere.  I sat in my chair doing crossword puzzles and he sat on the couch doing word finds.  Zach started his first day of work at Taco Johns so he was spared the boredom of watching us!

Saturday:  The roads were a little better today so Jeff and I went to town and ran some errands.  In the evening while Jeff watched the Packers/49ers game I worked out like a fiend on the treadmill while listening to 80’s music.  It’s been a month and I still LOVE my treadmill.  Everyone said after 2 weeks I’d probably never use  it again but I hope this love affair lasts forever!

Sunday:  After church  came home to make a breakfast of fried eggs over corned beef hash, toast and monkey bread.  Zach went fishing after breakfast, Jeff tuned into a football game and I read for a little until Mom called and asked if I wanted to go see Papa with her.  We had good intentions, but when we got there Papa was not “home!”  He had went along on a day trip to the farm.  After visiting with Mom for a while I came home, made supper (Cheesy Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Banana Cream Pie) and spent the remainder of the evening on a heating pad and playing games with Zach on Facebook.


Book Club Review and Author SKYPE of In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 12:22 am

I LOVE my Book Club “The Bookies.”  I have been a part of this book club for 11 1/2 years, ever since the beginning when there were only 3 of us meeting at Northwest Pizza.  Now we are a vibrant group of 18 who have outgrown most restaurants and usually meet at one of the member’s houses.

Our book club read for January was in In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan.  In the Belly of Jonah is the story of a young woman who manages a mining company named Liv.  One of her young female employees has just been murdered at the hands of a serial killer named the Venus de Milo killer.  When one of her old college classmates,  who now works with the FBI, contacts Liv and wants to help, she is relieved…until her former classmate is murdered by the Venus de Milo killer too and suddenly Liv is running for her life.  Can she solve this mystery before it’s too late?

Yes she can.  I’m not telling you too much by saying that and I’m not giving too much away.  There are two more books in this series featuring Liv Bergen so I think it’s fairly obvious she makes it!  I enjoy a good murder mystery and I enjoyed this one by Ms Brannan.  It was fast paced and very easy to read.  Her writing style is enjoyable as is Sandra herself.

I was very excited to get to meet this author via a SKYPE chat.  Sheila, the head of our book club, met Sandra a couple of years ago at Book Expo America in New York and they have been communicating ever since.  When Sheila told Sandra that we had chosen her book for our January read she was excited and not only offered to SKYPE with us but she sent us a box of goodies as well.

Sandra was delightful and very witty.  If I had not already liked the book I would have after chatting with her.  She is immediately relatable and I felt like I had known her for years.  She told us some funny personal stories and we shared BIG news with her as well.  Laura, a fellow bookie, revealed to us that she was pregnant in a very unique way.  She changed the book cover of Sandra’s book to look different from ours.


We are very excited to be having another Bookie baby!  Sandra was excited too and asked that we send pictures of not only Laura’s special cover but pictures of our book club to her as well so she could feature us on her website.  Here is the group picture of us holding gifts from Sandra that she sent in the goody box (as well as a “prop” from the book!)  What a fun event!  And that, my friends, is why I LOVE my Book Club!  (By the way, Laura is the young lady in the orange sweatshirt in the back row NOT the obviously 9 months pregnant Kerri in the brown shirt in the front!  lol)



He’s Smarter than the Average Bear, Boo Boo! January 12, 2013

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:29 pm

yogiUsually when I get letters from Brainerd High School addressed to “the parents of Zachary Simmonds”  I cringe.  Either his lunch account is seriously past due and he forgot to tell me, or it’s a progress report from one of his teachers saying he’s not been turning in his homework.  So it was with some trepidation that I opened the envelope I received in the mail a few weeks ago.


My anxiety turned to delight, however, when I read that Zachary had been nominated Student of the Semester!  When he came home I pulled out the letter with a stern look on my face and said “I received a letter from school today.”  With his tail tucked between his legs he sat down to listen.  When I finished the letter he said “uh! uh!” and sat there with a disbelieving look on his face.  It was really quite comical.  Then he proceeded to tell me all the reasons we SHOULDN’T go to the ceremony.


Needless to say, his explanation that Student of the Semester was just for “yuppie boys” was not convincing enough for us,  so this past Wednesday Jeff and I were proud parents as we watched Zachary receive his award.  We could not convince him to stand under the big Congratulations Student of the Semester banner for a picture  (too embarrassing mom!) so I made him promise we could take one with his certificate at home.  I tried to get a serious “I’m proud to be smart and hardworking” smile from him but every time I went to snap the picture he would cross his eyes, stick out his tongue or stick out his bottom lip in a pout.  Then I got this one and it was just too cute not to use  🙂



Congratulations Zachary!  We are very proud indeed!


Highlight Reel December 31st-January 6th, 2013 January 6, 2013

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 8:28 pm

ImageNot a real exciting week other than the first couple of days.

Monday 31st:  Spent the day cooking and preparing for my New Year’s Eve party.

Tuesday 1st:  Zach had an interview at 10:30 am at Taco John’s.  Hopefully he gets the job because he has been out of work far too long and his meager savings has been depleted!  Then we were invited to my Aunt Mary & Uncle Jerry’s New Year’s Day party.  I cooked up some more chimi bites and some more mini spinach dip bread bowls and we headed over for an afternoon of more eating and card playing.

Wednesday 2nd:  Back to work I go.  Thankfully it’s a short week.  I’m battling a little sinus/toothache thing.

Thursday 3rd:  I’ve got nothing…

Friday 4th:  Did some more couponing today and added to my food stockpile.  Drastic measures will now have to be taken.  It’s time to reorganize my home to add another pantry and make better use of the space I have or there will be absolutely no room for this food I have just brought home.  I mapped out my current cupboard arrangement and made plans to reorganize and started tonight by cleaning out the hall linen closet and making it into a second pantry.

Saturday 5th:  Got about half of my kitchen cupboards rearranged today.  Have a couple of boxes of VHS movies to bring to one of the charitable organizations in town.  Made lasagna and put the self cook timer on the oven while we headed to town to pick up hardware to fix the shelf in Tyler’s old closet so I could store the sleeping bags and sheets from the old linen closet in his closet.  After eating supper. Tyler came over to watch the Vikings/Packers game with us.

Sunday:  Almost done with my reorganization project!  Several boxes of baking pans, bowls, platters, etc, going to charity.  I actually have empty cupboards!  (Of course I still have a whole stack of stuff I haven’t figured out where to put yet!)  lol  This is one of my goals on my Project 52 so I’m excited to get one item crossed off the list this early in the year.

**If you don’t remember Project 52, it is a “thing” I have done for the past 2 years.  Instead of setting a few big New Year’s Resolutions a group of us set 52 smaller mini goals to achieve throughout the year.  I usually post mine to help keep me accountable, but I haven’t finished writing all 52 yet.  Last year I crossed off 30 of my 52 mini goals.  Not a roaring success, but not a complete failure either!  


2013 is Here!! January 1, 2013

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:28 am

I could look at the start of the new year as a blank slate, but slate is black and chalk is white and that sounds a little too boring.  I’d rather look upon it as a blank canvas.  Canvas is a white background that can be filled with a multitude of colors and I’m hoping 2013 will be a colorful, beautiful year!

Last night we rang in the new year with a party at our home.  We have been having the New Year’s Eve party ever since we were married…so over 20 years now.  We enjoy getting together with family and friends and playing a few games, eating lots of food and having a few cocktails.





This year my menu consisted of Chimi Bites, Hot Crab Spread on little toasts, Hot Beef Spread on french bread, Sticky Balls, Queso Dip with Tostitos, Dogs ‘n’ Hogs (Lil Smokies wrapped in bacon cooked with brown sugar), Mini Bread bowl Spinach Dip, bean dip with Doritos, a cheese and cracker and meat tray, chips, Buffalo Chicken Wing Quesadillas with blue cheese and celery, gluten free cheese crackers, a Cheese Ball and Laughing Cow cheese wedges, a cookie and candy tray, and Baklava!  

Zach was a huge help in the kitchen all day getting everything cooked up!

After we ate I passed out some blank buttons and had everyone fill in their New Year’s resolutions.  Some were silly…



like Jeff’s resolution to “Catch More Fish” and some were more serious goals, like mine…


to become a Kops (which means I will hit my goal weight in 2013), Read 100 books (I have come close every year for the past 3 years but I always seem to miss it) and Get More Organized ( in my home life, at work I am so super organized that everyone teases me about it!)

Then we played one of my favorite games Sh*t Bucket.  Don’t ask me where it got it’s name, but with the right crowd this game is CRAZY!!



Monica is laughing at Todd’s rendition of…hmmm…what was he trying to do?

I think in this picture Mark was doing the chicken dance…or maybe something else?



And by this time Jeff and Janeen were cracking up at everything!



After another trip to the bar


we played some Catchphrase



some 5 Second Rule



and as some of us started to wind down…



others were still ready to PARTY!!



so PARTY we did!!



At midnight I always serve “Fortune Cake.”  Each cupcake has a fortune or a prediction for the upcoming year.



Here’s a toast to you in hopes that your New Year will be as special as I’m sure ours will be! Happy New Year!



Christmas Day Was a Hectic Day! December 30, 2012

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:17 pm

Christmas Days in the Simmonds household are always a flurry of activity!  On Christmas morning we awoke early to find that Zach must have been a good boy this year because Santa did indeed visit us!  Before we open any presents though we always read from the Bible, the Gospel of Luke, telling about Jesus’ birth.  This puts everything into perspective for us as we emphasize that before present opening we give thanks to God for His son Jesus who was born a babe and proceeded to give up His life for us.


Then Zach started opening his gifts.  He received a welder from Santa!  He has welding class in school and has been getting pretty good at it and really enjoys it.  He wanted a welder for home so he can get more practice and see if this is something he could do as a job in the future.


After Zach got done opening his gifts, Jeff proceeded to open his.  In some families everyone opens their gifts at the same time.  I prefer to sit back and watch my family open their gifts.  I love watching the excitement and joy on their faces.  Jeff’s main gift this year was an air compressor.


After our gifts were all opened, Tyler and his family came over and we started all over again!  First Grace-Lin opened her gifts.


Then Tyler and Monica opened theirs.


Finally, I had bought identical gifts for all three of my “boys” which they opened together.  They all loved their Syma s107 RC helicopters but can you guess which “kid” was the most excited?


So the rest of the morning I had to duck so I wouldn’t get hit with the three helicopters flying around!


From my house we went to Mom & Dad’s where we- you guessed it!- opened more presents!



Finally, the present opening was done (for a while anyway) and we were able to have a fantastic meal of turkey, ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade dinner rolls, snicker salad, relish and vegetables trays, and dessert.

After dinner we headed to Jeff’s side of the family so we could, yep!, open more presents! 🙂  This is a pic of what the family looks like when we get together at her house.  Keep in mind, there still are at least a dozen family members in various parts of the house that you can’t see in this pic!


Here is the matriarch of the Simmonds family.


After family pictures at Mom Simmonds’ house the family started to disperse.  I met Mom & Dad in town at Papa’s to celebrate Christmas with him.  Here he is with his Snuggie on opening presents.


After my Aunt Bonnie got off work, Mom & I went and picked her up and brought her over to see Papa before bringing her back to Mom & Dad’s for present opening and supper.  This is a picture of her opening her gift from my Aunt Candy.


Finally, after supper we brought Bonnie home and went back to Mom’s to load up our gear and  head for home.  It was a looooonnngg, but fun filled day!


Christmas Eve

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 8:25 pm
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Christmas Eve was very traditional for us.  I had to work until 4pm (oh the joys of retail!) and then I came home, relaxed for a few minutes and then we got ready for church.  St Mathias no longer has midnight mass, they have moved it up to 8pm.  After mass we all went back to my house where I served hot apple cider, pasties and Christmas cookies and candies.  We sat and talked and took a few pictures in front of the tree before collapsing in bed just in time for Santa to arrive.  



Jeff thinks I went a little overboard with presents this year 🙂




Tyler, Monica and Grace in front of the tree.