Friday, May 17, 2019

5 thing Friday - firepit, Mother's Day, Perisso's, green smoothie, necklace

A 3 day Mother's Day weekend was fun, but as usual, I was worn out on Monday.
We left our volunteer gig at the winery and headed to Burnet, intending to stop at the same place we had the Highlands sign made and purchase one of their firepits.  But after mulling the price for about 30 minutes, we decided to check the local hardware store.  Found an almost identical pit for over $300 less.  SOLD.
The bowl is a little less deep, and the foot rail and swing out top were reinforced.  And the lady at the hardware store said she thought it was made by the same people at the welding shop.  We got it offloaded and fired it right up!  Friday evening was misting and 50 degrees - perfect firepit weather.
 We used it all weekend and even woke up to it on Sunday.  Delightful.
 On Sunday we had a wine club pick-up at Perisso's.  We enjoyed pulled pork sammies, live music, and  Dolcetto.
 You could not have asked for a more lovely day.  
Texas weather - cold one day, warm the next.
The place was packed with all sorts of mamas enjoying the beautiful day.  We stayed a couple of hours, picked up our wine, then headed home to grill burgers.
Scout and Dutch came!  They are back from a week on the coast enjoying a much-needed vacay.  Both of them looked relaxed and happy.  {Pififully, I got only one or two pics}  We ate our burgers al fresco and enjoyed them with some baked beans and sangria.  Firstborn and Bubbie even played a game with me while Hubby grilled!  It was a relaxing evening.
On Wednesday I got my teeth cleaned and is usually the case, I hadn't had time for breakfast.  Since I schedule early appointments,  I've been running through this nearby shop and grabbing a protein smoothie afterwards.  It makes my mouth and my tummy feel much better.  I should get one of those Ninja blenders - we would use it often.
I cannot get a decent pic of the Mother's Day necklace Hubby got me, but I love it.  the main pendant is a charm holder that you can switch out charms on whenever you like.  It came with a bluebonnet charm and calcedony bead - this pic does it no justice.  The bluebonnet charm is so detailed and the bead is an amazing shade of blue.  I know I will wear it and love it for years to come.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bottling helpers

On Friday, Hubby and I both took a day off to work at a local winery that we enjoy.  They were bottling reds - Barbera, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre, to name a few.  Over 12,000 bottles of wine.
 Its safe to say we have zero experience doing anything at a winery besides drinking wine.  But we enjoy getting to know the winemakers and learning new things so we figured "why not?"  Plus, it was fun to meet other wine club members.
 This particular winery doesn't own their own bottling line, so a big rig pulls right up to the winery.  It was our job to label the boxes of empty bottles, stack them close to the line, flip the bottle over on the conveyor belt, re-load the full and corked bottles, tape the boxes up, stack them on pallets, and store them in the warehouse.  WHEW!  
Very hard work! 
Once the line got going, we were working at record speed - the production line was cranked up to high.  Thank  goodness for cooler weather and no rain!
Cases of empty bottles, stamped and ready to go.
 The bottles, ready to be flipped over on to the conveyor belt and filled.
 The winemaker, John, getting ready to lift filled pallets to be stored in the warehouse.
Hubby and I worked several job rotations - here he is helping to make sure all of the bottles are fully filled at the end of that particular varietal run. We helped them bottle almost 1100 cases of wine - everything you see below, shrink-wrapped in green.
 If you ever get a chance to work at a winery - bottling, picking grapes - do it!  Its fun to see how the winery works from the inside even though it is super hard work.  The owners paid us in wine, tee shirts, and pizza, and we met some fun folks and got to know the winery employees a little more.  We even recognized some people we had met here at another winery on Mother's Day - small world - and found that we were members of some of the same wineries.
Fun for sure - but I think I will keep my Monday through Friday job!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mealplan Monday #245

Monday - Indian Spiced Chicken Breast, Superfood Salad, smashed red potatoes
Tuesday - Pintos with brisket onion and cilantro, corn muffins
Wednesday - Crock Pot Ribs, corn on the cob, leftover beans
Thursday - Tuna Salad on Toast, red pepper strips, fresh fruit
Friday - Mole Chicken Tacos, sauteed zucchini
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Take-out night
This week I have some things on repeat just to make it easy on the cook...

Friday, May 10, 2019

5 thing Friday - garage, nurses, front door, edging, paintings

About twice a year when I go out to the garage I feel like shrieking, so I then spend a couple hours cleaning it all up.  It makes Hubby super suspicious and edgy as he thinks I am throwing away or donating stuff.
Which of course I do.  And this time he will help me and we are going to do a very THOROUGH cleaning and organizing.  All of Firstborn's stuff is going to his apartment, the van seats are going back into the van, all of the kids' memory boxes are going to be moved out of way so I can have space for my craft storage, the scout stuff is going away...I can hardly wait.  I have already set the date - May 25.
It's Nurse's Week at work and I made a cute thing for them.  HEB had various flavors of M&M in these big bags at 2 for 1.  So I bought ten of them, put them into an Amazon box I covered in gift wrap, and taped a note on the front flap.
Each lady gets her own bag, and there were some really fun flavors.  I left them in the charge nurse office for them to find - so fun to do!  The nurses are a big part of our department,and most of them I have known for years.
I feel like this door project was anticlimactic as I had talked about it for months.  I bought the paint, made my plans, and the rains came.  Every. Single. Weekend.  Until I finally just gave up ever having decent weather or time to do it.  When Hubby asked me last Saturday "how long does it take the paint to dry?" I knew the day had finally come when I could get 'er done.  We got the hardware off and cleaned up, and the thing sanded and painted in no time.
 The color is Sincere by Modern Masters.
 A very pretty chocolate brown against the cream trim and red brick of the house.  Me like.  I need to touch up the trim and its DONE.
 Above is the best recent-ish pic I could find of the round edging under the front yard oak.  As you can see, the tree has grown quite a lot and the circle looked puny underneath it.  We had some random edging in the garage from Hubby's old BBQ patio (we removed it when we re-built the deck out back), so it cost us nothing to expand it.
We decided on a wavy free-form pattern that complements the curves of the edging close to the house.  We filled it in with soil and topped it with mulch.  All that's left to do is wait for the wandering jew to spread out and fill in.  A one hour project and I love it so much better than the small circle that was there before.  Now to work on the grass out here...
 I have a co-worker who makes these very pretty acrylic paintings.  She had a giveaway on Instagram and I won two smallish ones in black and white!
I added them to my floating shelves in the bedroom and moved the family pictures that were previously here to the guest room.  So simple and pretty - I love them!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Weekend re-cap: Blackstar, Circle, Becker

Last weekend may as well have been a repeat of the one before it.  I was on call Saturday, so we stayed home and got some projects done.  (more landscaping, chores, painting the front door...) By the end of the day we were pooped (but I didn't get called in!) and hungry, so we headed over to Blackstar Co-Op for beer and bites.
 Hubby had the fish and chips, I had the burger and chips.  Both were delicious!
We sat on their deck and watched the traffic and commuter trains go by - admittedly, not the finest of scenery but honestly, we had a great time.
After that we ventured over to Circle Brewing Co.  They were pretty busy!  We've only been here once before and really enjoyed their beer.
They didn't have any live music, so we sat and played Connect Four and enjoyed a beer.  As in ONE beer, since we were both tired at that point and made it an early evening.
The next day I got a message from my sister Maggie that they were going out to the Lavender Festival at Becker Vineyards, did we want to meet them there?  Of course!
 Wide open spaces make me feel happy!
 Along with lavender, they had poppies.
 So pretty.
 Apparently lavender is easy to grow in Texas.. hmmm...might have to try my hand at that.  It likes the full Texas sun and we have lots of that at Highlands.
 My sister and Hubby brought along their dog, Chica.  She was very sweet and a virtual child magnet - she enjoyed getting petted a LOT.  We walked around the various booths of the festival, bought nothing but wine, sat and sipped and chatted for a couple of hours.  The weather was amazing.
 We only went inside the main tasting room just before we left.  It was massive.
Hubby and I are red wine lovers, so we enjoyed their Dolcetto and Tempranillo.  We will definitely visit again when they aren't so crowded - Stonewall is a favorite destination for us with friendly wineries and beautiful country scenery.
It was nice to hang out with them - we've met them at a winery or brewery several times the past few weeks and its been fun to catch up.  They live in a retirement community in Georgetown,  which we like to jokingly call "Sin City".  They are only four years older than we are and my sister says some of the women in her community are outraged that she's "too young" to be there.  Ha! We are looking forward to many more afternoons sitting and talking and sipping wine with them.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Mealplan Monday #244

Monday - Greek Chicken breast cubes, baked sweet potatoes, chopped salad
Tuesday - Grilled Cheese and Ham Sammies on whole grain bread, sliced red onion and tomato, grapes
Wednesday - Teriyaki Seasoned Salmon, fresh green beans with mini red potatoes
Thursday - (freezer) Pork Tenderloin, butternut squash cubes, skillet kale
Friday - Quinoa and Italian Sausage with peppers and onions (Heat and Eat Bowls)
Saturday - YOYO*
Sunday - Shredded Chicken Salad on Hawaiian Rolls, multi grain chips, fruit

*Last weekend we found ourselves with lots of leftovers from a Scout cooking event, including pre-cooked Italian Sausage.  I tossed some of it with some Trader Joe's ravioli and sauce and it made a one skillet wonder that I am adding into my Saturday night dinner rotation at Highlands!

Friday, May 3, 2019

At the end of the day

Much as I love what I do for a living, I also love the time of day when you come to a stopping point and leave for home. We have been very busy lately - everyone seems to be feeling the strain.  And usually, I end my day in the ER so its quite a walk to my car.
I pass by some art on the walls and pretty building features that I generally take for granted - maybe because I have been walking past it for almost 12 years.  But I do remember when we moved into our new hospital home, being impressed by how pretty it was, thinking it would be a comfort to the families and patients we serve.
The old hospital had some beauty here and there, but nothing like as intentional as this - large windows that look OUT towards sun and plants, water and sky.  Intricate wall mosaics.  Interactive light displays.  Original commissioned art, some by physicians.  And its HUGE compared to the old place.
The architecture is beautiful - like this polished wood planked floor that makes a breezeway, stretching across the 2nd and 3rd floor.
 So much open space and natural light..
The day I took these pics I was just walking along, snapping them randomly.  The pics themselves are unremarkable.  And I guess its been awhile since I noticed how pretty the place is.
I've always admired the lush landscaping.  But I forget that the back side of the hospital is even lovelier than the front.  The back is all about a healing space for families.  I need to get back there and take more photos.  I may well forget someday what it all looks like!
A long walk - from where I say goodnight to my co-workers, to through the halls, down the stairs, all the way to the end of a huge parking to my car.  And because of the time change, it is still light outside at 7:30 pm. 
(The hospital will soon replace that parking lot with a medical building and create a parking garage for employees that will be much appreciated in inclement weather. So, a lot of the trees will have to go, which I find sad.)  Even after 12 years the place is growing and I am glad I was a part of it, so on a hard day, that thought lifts me a little.


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