Friday, February 24, 2017

Staying busy...

Weeks 7-9 on the Organized Home Challenge are things I feel I'm fairly organized on: coupons, meal planning, and laundry room.  Coupons I go through at the end of every month -  I toss the expired ones and try to use the ones about to be expired.  I use a little coupon caddy that lives in my purse. And I only clip coups for things I know we will need or use.   For store coups, I just to pull those up on my phone and show the cashier.  Meal planning happens here on every Thursday for the following week, then I shop after work on Tuesday.  I post menus, but I am flexible on what I cook,  depending on people's schedules.  And the laundry room?  Well, it's more of a nook and it has stayed fairly neat.
So this week I put up all of the pinecones and winter-looking greenery around the house.  After all, it's like we never really got winter here in Central Texas and the days have been sunshiney beautiful.  I bought a cute hob nail candle for $3 at JoAnn for the coffee table.  And a few other small sewing supplies, but not much else.  And yes, I did use my phone coupon!
I took pitifully few pictures since this week has been more about getting some other things done: bills, laundry, potting some plants, raking, running errands, sewing a bit, getting Bubbie's hair cut, and spending time with Hubby.  And this weekend I have some extra time off, so I am going to chaperone a lock-in for the band kids, then head to Burnet on Saturday for the Torr Na Loch  pick-up party.  It was a great week at Camp Rustown and we are looking forward to a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday Menus #8 and Highlands

It's been 5 months since we purchased a little piece of property we call Highlands.  I've only been out there a handful of times, but each time I go I find something new.  Last week I discovered several small springs bubbling up, patches of bluebonnets springing up everywhere, and a fossil of what looks to be a plant, trapped in one of the cliff walls.
Wednesday - Turkey Apple Quesadillas, sweet potato fries
Thursday - Pork loin chops, broccoli rice casserole (freeze half)
Friday - Quiche Lorraine, skillet potatoes, sliced pears
Saturday - YOYO - Mon and Dad in Burnet
Sunday - Meatball Lasagna, broccoli
Monday - Biscuits with sausage gravy ('cause I never made it a couple menus ago...), eggs
Tuesday - Fish with parsley lemon breadcrumbs, carrots, garlicky noodles
Dessert this week is Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Looking at this menu I feel a tad bit guilty over not having more veggies - I'll do better next week!
Hubby's little piece of heaven and a nice place to spend an afternoon...

Monday, February 20, 2017

What the week holds, and pie crust

Last week I was determined to make some pie crust in bulk.  I figured that with all of that turkey, we could have some great pot pies, not to mention fruit pies!  While I love the store bought pie crusts, I knew I could make my own.  It's one of those recipes/skills not passed down to me, so I found a method to make my own and I have to say, I'm really pleased with how this project turned out!
I used a 5 lb. bag of flour (with 2 cups of it removed), a 3 lb. can of shortening, four eggs, 2 cups water, a tablespoon of vinegar, 1 1/3 T salt, and 3 T sugar.  The largest container I have to mix all that up in is a stockpot!
And instead of a pastry cutter or large fork, I used a potato masher - proving you can improvise with what you have!  I cut the shortening into the flour, salt, and sugar.  Then I mixed the eggs and water well and added them in.  It took a lot of muscle power to get everything combined!  Then I set the pot in the fridge to rest for 15 min while I cleaned up.
 I sprinkled flour over my work surface and patted the dough out so I could divide it into 20 portions.  Each one will be a separate pie crust.  For this I just used a big knife, but I may have to get myself a scraper for making it easier in the future.
I rolled each crust into a bit of flour so they wouldn't be as sticky going into zip loc bags.  Then I put all of them into a container in the freezer. 
After I use a few of them I should be able to put the lid on for better long-term storage.
That night I tested one of them in a cherry pie turnover for four - drizzled with confectioner's sugar glaze and it was delightful.  I did it!  I am proud of myself for learning pie crust - only time will tell how they hold up in the freezer and translate into various dinners and dessert.  This week Hubby will be home, getting ready to transition to a new job in March.  Bubbie has a band night lock-in, then on Saturday and Sunday, Hubby and I will spend some down time in Burnet.  Spring is going to be here fast, and I have so many projects I want to start!  What does your week look like?

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Friday, February 17, 2017

5 thing Friday - comfy shoes, front door, nails Rx, terra cotta, Solero

I've been meaning to get some cute shoes to wear with skirts and jeans and I found these at Macy's.  They are B.O.C. by Born.  Kind of a cross between a sandal and a clog and very comfy.  And marked down from $85 to $35.
 And I bought some fun socks, too.  I found a neat trick on Pinterest for shortening the length of jeans using the original hem, and although mine aren't perfect, it worked out really well!
 Painting the front door is a project I just can't seem to get started on.  I found the kind of paint I want to use, but I am on the fence about the color.  Hubby suggested red, which I think would be God-awful next to the bricks.  I was thinking black, but I don't want this entry to look formal.  I need to wait for the right weather anyway, but I definitely want to cross this project off my list! Meanwhile, I need to change out that wreath.
I saw the dermatologist last week and he said my nails looked dehydrated.  He prescribed something I paint on them daily.  Here is the "before".  As of today I am on day 5.  Here's hoping. My nails have not responded to various creams, oils, biotin, or avoiding the hand foam at work.
 I savagely emptied several of my large terra cotta pots and cleaned them.  I will refill them in the spring.  Meanwhile, I am using one of the saucers as a tray on my kitchen table. {it has a cork trivet underneath, to keep it from scratching the table}
I cleaned a couple of smaller ones in prep for getting some plants in the kitchen window, but one of them is home to wine corks for now.  Another one is on the patio table with pinecones.  I love the look of terra cotta pots;  they are sturdy and adaptable and the color is so warm and natural.
Hubby and I seem to gravitate to wineries when things are stressful - we met at Solero Estate last week as a halfway point as he was coming home from business in San Antonio.  There were very few people there on a Friday afternoon, the weather was warm, and the patio was a great place to unwind with some tempranillo and a cheese plate. So much better than happy hour at a crowded bar!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday menus #7 and turkey 2.0

The dealership that Firstborn works at always gives them a turkey for the holidays.  He's a bachelor with no need for such a off to mom and dad it goes!  I wait a while after the holidays, then roast it up on a day off.
I love roasting a whole turkey with the intent to cut the meat up for several meals.  It makes the house smell wonderful, reminds me of Thanksgiving...Every part of the bird will get used: the meat will be divided up into zip locs, the drippings will be saved for gravy, and the bones will make great soup stock.
Stock gently simmering...
...roasting pan clean.
Wednesday - Coney Islands (with homemade turkey chili), tots
Thursday - Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken Breasts, cabbage and carrots
Friday - Tilapia Mexicano, salad with avocado
Saturday - Hubby grills
Sunday - (freezer) Crock pot Beef Tips with Gravy, mashed potatoes, veggie or salad
Monday - Turkey Stir Fry with brown rice (from the bird above!)
Tuesday - Crock pot of beans with bacon, cornbread
Cooked turkey, ready for a meal!
Stock! I will skim off the fat and freeze in a Ball jar.
I recently cleaned out the freezer and have been good about using up what is left in there.  But its great to have some cooked turkey all cut up and ready to go.  As a birthday gift, I got a cookbook with ideas for rotisserie chicken meat, and I am going to adapt the recipes for turkey.  And, I plan on making my own pie crusts to freeze so turkey pot pies will be a breeze!  

Monday, February 13, 2017

What the week holds, and Treaty Oak

Late posting today as I went to work super early today, got off early and shopped, then napped hard... but it was pretty great!
On Sunday we took Scout with us to the wine pick-up party at Wimberley Valley Winery.  It was such a pleasant afternoon, but we didn't bring any card games to play or get there early enough to snag a table, so we decided to take him by a distillery nearby, Treaty Oak Distilling Co.
We got there around 3 p.m. and was surprised that it wasn't busier, but they weren't offering tastings and didn't have any live music happening.  Plenty of folk were enjoying the wide open spaces - a lot of them brought their kids, since there is a playscape and lots of horseshoe and beanbag pits.  And they had helicopter tours, although we didn't plunk down the $45 apiece it costs.
Hubby and I had just visited them on Friday and took a tour of the distillery.  They make bourbon, rum, vodka, and gin.  It's a neat place, and the tour came with a tasting.  We bought a pricey bottle of some fabulous gin to enjoy one shot at a time - in fact, some cute little shot glasses came with the tasting.
 These places seem to find the prettiest pieces of land with big shady trees!
Scout declined a drink, settling for water.  He's not much of a fan of drinks, but Dad and I enjoyed a cocktail while we all watched the helicopter come and go.  The weather was unbelieveable for "winter" - temps in the high 70's.
We were only there a short time, but it was lovely.  And I loved the simple and beautiful buildings - lots of natural stone and metal roofs, simple patios and giant trees.  
This week I am setting out some sussies for my menfolk on Tuesday morning, but we probably will not *celebrate* Valentine's Day...Hubby goes to see the eye doc for a pre-op on his cataract surgery, and Bubbie has solo and ensemble performances with band.  We've got some severe weather in the form of rain in the forecast tonight and I plan on sleeping right through it!
What does your week look like?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Recycle and trash decluttering

This week the declutter challenge was recycling and trash cans.  I feel as though we do fairly well on that, all things considering.  Austin has a pretty progressive recycling program.  It's all single stream, meaning we don't separate out anything.  We have two dumpsters provided for us to use - one for trash, the other for recycleables.  And the little area they live in needed some cleaning up.
They live in this nook behind the photinia at the corner of our house.  You never see them from the street.
The patio pavers were left over from a long ago project, so I placed them here so the cans wouldn't sit in mud...but its pretty messy back here and could use a raking.
 I raked and sprayed the stones off.  When they were just about dry I put the cans back and moved on to the next project: breaking down several large boxes to recycle from a garage project I had also started. {because projects always travel in groups...}
It's not fancy, but no one but us ever sees it!
Austin picks up yard waste weekly.  In addition, there are a couple of times a year they will come get big limbs, and big trash.  Big trash happens next week starting on Monday.  The best thing to do is get your big trash out the week before.  Junk dealers and neighbors will take unwanted stuff off your hands.  All you have to do is haul it out to the curb! 
About every three months or so I go out to the garage and pitch a fit over the way it looks.  A couple of hours later, I have straightened it up.  But we seriously own too much stuff.  I have talked about that many times before on this blog! Usually, I am late to the big trash game but this year I managed to toss a roll of vinyl flooring from YEARS ago, a broken down bike, a vacuum cleaner, some landscape lighting, a large broken pot, a futon, and two barstools.  But there is so much more in here we should get rid of.  Hubby does like his schtuffs.
Part of the problem is the stuff from the two grown folk who have left their belongings here.  Someday they will HAVE to come get it as we will not live in this house forever and we are not moving all of their stuff with us!  For now, I love that you can walk into the garage from the outside.  You couldn't earlier today...
I even cleared a mini path back to the lawn sprinkler system control box, which you can barely see on the wall (gray box).  And all the scrap wood got straightened up, too.  I emptied some of my terra cotta pots which had just about dead plants in them.  I will clean them up in the spring and pot some new plants.  Then I called it a day.  It's super hard being the only one decluttering here, but gradually I am going to get everyone on board with it!


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