Monday, November 30, 2015

Teddy Therapy

{If there's a blogger award for crappy photos then, I WIN.  But people in my photos rarely cooperate and I have a story to tell, so I forge on...}
 The Girl came for a week during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Must. Read. Recipe.
She helped out by making a pumpkin pie, which, truth be told, was not up to her usual standards.  You see, she was fairly distracted... her new baby.  Meet Teddy!
 Most Spoiled Doggie Ever.
 He's a blur in most of my photos because he is always on the move.  For a shy dog, he really got around.  He followed her everywhere, and was very bonded with her, which is a good thing.  I guess.  I'm actually a cat person, so what do I know?
 He is quiet, well-behaved, sweet, and very shy.  According to The Girl, she was depressed and unhappy before she got her doggie.  I wish I had known that things were that rough on her, but it turns out she knew all along how to fix them..
And she is thrilled to bits with him.  He is keeping her sane and happy, which is good thing since she is on her own in the Big City.  It's hard navigating young adulthood on your own.  I'm happy that she has a sweet pup to help her through the rough times.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day after turkey, 2015 - a picture says a lot..

Last year, it was a somewhat stressful Thanksgiving.  Yes, we were all healthy and together.  There was a lot of food, beautiful weather, games at the patio table, the firepit going.  Still, I was unable to do as much as I would have liked, due to recovering from knee surgery.  I sat down and made notes about how I wanted it to be different this year.  Adjusted my expectations.  Decided on doing things a little differently.   And, oh, what a difference a year makes.
Did I slog through mud at the tree farm all in the name of tradition to pick out the perfect tree?  NO.Did I cater to everyone else's tastes and requests when making out the menu? NO.  Did I get up and slave over homemade breakfasts?  NO.  However, I was the one doing the prep and cooking and washing up.  It was just easier that way.  And I did change the expectation that, once Thanksgiving is over, the house has to be decorated and ready for Christmas that minute.  This year, we got the trees up, and that's it.  Period.  The rest can wait until next week.  So, what does this pic say?  The house is reasonably clean, there is a pot of turkey soup on the stove, the tree that seems to get larger every year is decorated (as is the kids' tree) and mom hasn't lost her mind. She might be a little achy and out of sorts after walking 5 miles in the rain on Turkey Trot, but overall, the stress level here is much less than that of last year....that's fair start, no?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

6 thing Monday - yards, cast iron cooking, sweet potatoes, schtuff, cake, candles

I got a little off with 5 thing Friday, hence Monday being a tad different. Lately I have discovered that when I make a mistake on something it gnaws at me until I resolve it somehow. I'm funny that way.
The view from my front porch on a recent morning.  Everything is still green and beautiful.  The rain sure has helped the front yard.  The backyard is a grass-less wasteland.  So let's just focus on the front the Spring I will overhaul the back.
I've been using my cast iron pan more and more.  I roasted a pork tenderloin surrounded by chunks of pumpkin, garlic, and onion that was outta this world!  I also used it for my pan of cornbread. It's nice and seasoned now, so it cooks things beautifully.  Better than pyrex!
I bought some purple sweet potatoes from Trader Joe's then forgot to cook them, so I just baked them up one morning, thinking I would freeze them for Thanksgiving.  Then I peeled them and they were pale yellow.  Tasted the same and all, but I still bought more from HEB because they are ridiculously cheap this time of year.  We'll have the orange ones on Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean these will go to waste.  Sweet potatoes are my favorite thing ever.
 I "sold back" some PTO at work and bought myself a new purse for everyday.  I like tote styles as they can hold everything and generally have more pockets inside.
I also got some Converse.  Do they look silly on me?  Maybe.  However, they are wider than Keds and my toenail will not poke a hole through the top of the tennie; an annoying feature of Keds.  I think they still aren't right for wearing with certain things so I also ordered some black leather mocassins.  Happy Birthday month to me!
The middle of November is Radiologic Technology Week.  We got fed half to death at work, and I still managed to do well on my diet.  I made a cake for everyone on that Tuesday - I might have sampled it for breakfast.  Chocolate Cherry Fudge - it was the bomb.
Last year I couldn't get Hubby to cooperate and go get me the cinnamon pinecones I desperately needed wanted.  As soon as I saw them out at Michael's I grabbed a bag and made a little candle plate for the den.  Candles and this time of year just go together.  
Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dressing prep!

Every year I tweak the dressing recipe - sometimes fresh herbs, sometimes adding cream of chicken soup, etc.  I think it's fun to experiment a little, even with big family holiday meals.  You never know - you might hit on something everyone loves so much you don't want to to change it!  It so happens that in my family, the dressing is MY favorite thing.  So I pretty much get carte blanche making it, and it always gets rave reviews from Hubby.
 This year I decided to add sausage.  YUM.  Sausage is a genius add-in; it's already seasoned up with sage so it will make the dressing extra wonderful.  This was Jimmy Dean all natural pork sausage - smelled so good!
 I sauteed celery and onion in some butter and added dried herbs - thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley.  Salted and peppered it a little, too.  My measurements are never exact, but I would say I used about a teaspoon or less of each herb.  You can always add more, but once you add it, it's in there for good, knowwuttamean?  I also added the celery tops - I think they look and taste great.
I stirred the cooked and drained sausage into the cooked celery and onion, just to make it easier to mix it all in with the cornbread.  Then I added a little turkey stock to be sure the cornbread was nice and moist. 
Oh!  The cornbread!  Here is the recipe I used:
Simple Cornbread
2 c. cornmeal
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/8 c. sugar
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
Grease a cast iron skillet and place it in the oven while you preheat it to 425.  Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs and add to buttermilk.  Stir wet into dry, pour into hot cast iron skillet, bake for 30 minutes.
Once the cornbread was cooled, I crumbled it and tossed with the sausage/celery/onion mix. Then I carefully placed it into a big plastic container to freeze until next Thursday morning.  I will put it in a greased casserole dish after the turkey comes out of the oven, spoon some turkey drippings over it, and bake it for about 30-40 minutes while we carve the bird and make gravy.
Is it just me, or are you hungry for Thanksgiving, too?

P.S.  Happy Birthday to me tomorrow!  55 years young!  (:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Getting ready for the Refi

One day last week we had Camp Rustown appraised.  We are refinancing to get a better rate - still leaving the mortgage at 15 years, which is where we would have been anyway.  I talked Hubby into it.  He didn't feel like he had the mental energy or time to deal with it.  But I know the main work is getting all of the documents together, and since I am the one who files everything, that wasn't an impossible task.  And if we can skip the December payment, then have our payments lowered by $200 a month, then hot dog, let's DO IT.
The day of the appraisal I cleaned like a fiend.  I cannot have a stranger come into my home and take pics of a giant mess!  Plus, it needed to smell nicer, frankly.  And I have to say, last week this house was the cleanest it has been in months - inside and out.
I can only do so much on short notice - hopefully the deck in sad shape, the recently patched ceiling, the dying grass, the shifting driveway, and the bathroom floors that desperately need replacing won't mean we get appraised for lower than what we expect.  We have a lot of work ahead of us to get some things done around here.  But, isn't that always the case?


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