Monday, October 31, 2016

What the week holds, and Happy 21st birthday, Scout!

Today is Scout's 21st birthday.
He was born just after midnight on the 31st  - I pretty much spent the entirety of Oct. 30th in labor.  My sister Maggie and her daughter Amber came over to the house early in the day.  We made tater tots in the oven and Amber rubbed my feet.  Labor slowed.  We decided to go eat lunch at a place on North Lamar called EZ's Diner where we had gigantic lunches and a Bluebell ice cream hot fudge sundae.  Labor stopped, then started.  We went to the hospital and I was monitored for a while.  Scout was late but no one was worried since he was Baby #3.  Labor stopped again.  We finally gave up on him appearing that night and as we finished up dinner around 9:30 (I was all about eating during labor), contractions started up again.  Maggie met us at the hospital and stayed with us until Scout arrived - all 9 and a half pounds of him.  
Scout was definitely a labor of love - I worked full-time and already had a four year old and an almost 6 year old.  I had just begun a new job, we were climbing out of debt and hard times, and life was slowly on the upswing.  He was like a reward of blue skies after the storm.  He is a gentle, kind, and loving son and I am thankful each day that Hubby and I took a chance on the future during those stressful and uncertain times.  He is a blessing to us, as they all are - the best thing about our life together.
******
This week we will order pizza in and hand out candy to Trick-or-Treaters, I will see the PT on Wednesday and the dentist on Thursday.  Then Friday we will attend the last football game of the season and get ready for the Bands of American competition this weekend.  In other words...business as usual around here.  
What's on tap for your week?


Gina


Friday, October 28, 2016

5 thing Friday - Tango, home sweet home, Gus, bar plans, schedule changes

Our high school band did an AWESOME job at UIL on Tuesday night, earning Division I and qualifying for Area competition on Saturday!  Woo to the hoo, let's Tango!
 Such a great show - I always plan on recording it, then I get mesmerized...
 Plants in my mother's kitchen window.  I'm sure she is thrilled to be back home, even with her broken arm.  There's nothing like the serenity and comfort of your own home.
I'm sure Gus feels the same.  On Wednesday, he patiently waited for her to get dressed to go to lunch, knowing he would get a peanut butter busy bone.  
He is not the least bit spoiled...
On the way home from Brenham I stopped at Saddlehorn Winery again and enjoyed a glass of cabernet and wide open spaces.
 And I spied this on the patio - a "bar" made of wine barrels and decking planks.  And I was thinking, "couldn't we do that out in Burnet?  We could use cedar planks...hmm...and Wimberley Valley Winery sells the barrels...hmmm..." I can picture a table like this on a bed of crushed gravel, under trees laced with tiny white lights near a firepit.
I don't mind the least bit going to help my mother out, but getting off my To Do hamster wheel always makes me feel a little frantic. Here you can see I am multitasking - breakfast, making out my list for the day, paying bills, making appointments and checking email and the calendar.  I know that going to a M-F shift would change a lot of things for me, not the least of which would be one less day to get stuff done.  But the trade-off is that Hubby and I would be off the same two days.  I promised him I would work on it.  Something to think about...



Gina

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lime Shredded Pork Tacos

Last year I found a wonderful crock pot recipe for boneless pork (or carnitas) to make into tacos.  I included it in a round of freezer meals and it was a big hit!
I placed it frozen, into my crock pot, then headed to Brenham for the day.  This afternoon when I got home the house smelled wonderful.  I picked up some tortillas, cheese, avocados, and pre-made pico from the store and we are going to feast on tacos!  Is there any better way to use the crock pot?  I think not!
******
Lime Shredded Pork for tacos
2# boneless pork ribs, country style, trimmed of fat
the juice of two limes
1 T honey
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
Cook on low in crock pot 6-8 hours.
******
It's been a long day, otherwise I would show you the tacos we devoured...you'll have to use your imagination and just take my word for it, they were soooo good! I really love my crock pot and every now and then I am reminded of exactly why.  Now to lay in my bed with some new magazines...


Gina



Monday, October 24, 2016

What the week holds, and scenes from a kitchen

It has been an early start to the day - a 3:30 a.m. trip to the airport took care of that - so I am actually getting a Monday post done early.  In a perfect world I would be able to catalog the week in advance and be organized enough to blog early, but most days, it ain't happening.
 This past weekend, Hubby and Firstborn went out to the Burnet property to do some work, and camp.  Scout was in a wedding, and worked.  So that left Bubbie to his own devices, which included making caramel apples.  I need to get that guy into the kitchen more often!
And speaking of the kitchen, here is the day prep I left for him:  breakfast and lunch in the oven set to be ready at 6:30 with some other items bagged for him to pack, and a note reminding him to get a back-up ride from school tonight as I am on call. This week Hubby is traveling, Bubbie has band and scouts on Monday {so he will be tired and super hungry by the time I feed him dinner}, a UIL competition for band on Tuesday, and more practice on Wednesday.  I have physical therapy on Thursday, and much to catch up on around the house.  I pick up Hubby on Friday afternoon and we go straight to presentation of letter jackets for the seniors at the band hall, then off to the football game where seniors and their parents are honored.  There is more band competition on Saturday, too....plus in there somewhere I need to continue work on the backyard and go see my mother who is back home in Brenham. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this...
What does your week look like?


Gina

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday night lights

Tonight is a football game...another chance to see our band perform their marching show,  "Tango".  And, recently they had some excellent high scores in the US Bands marching contest - best music, best overall effect, best percussion, and best visual. Here is a quote from the band director:
"At this point in the season, each band member has spent  153 hours outside of the school day working on ‘Tango.’  They have memorized 8 minutes of music, 74 sets or subsets of coordinates and about 30 additional visuals from horn flashes to body movement.  This is an incredibly complex activity with a high demand of focus, determination and discipline.  We know from the timing tears we experienced a couple of weeks ago that even once we ‘know’ all of the music and drill, there is a world of other problems that occur and need to be solved. Charting 104 marching musicians and 55 guard on a on a football field spread so far apart, we are faced with inherent timing problems caused by the logistics of how sound travels.   Not to mention all of this is accomplished with students carrying a full load of academically rigorous courses."
Our kids have worked so hard!
It's been a pretty good football season for our high school, too - 3 wins so far, which has to be a record...It's no secret that our football team is not our star athletic team, but what we lack in wins we make up for in school spirit.  
It's nice to come out and support the athletes, dance teams, cheerleaders, and band.  Not to mention the color guard, choir...all of them.  They work so hard during the summer and most of them are honor students and student leaders.  And when our team wins, it's so much sweeter!  Three more football games to go.  I feel a little sad knowing we won't see Bubbie march much longer - I hope he treasures this time in his life.



Gina

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hump Day progress

It's 3 p.m. on Hump Day!
{A sad $1.92 lantana plant from Wal-Mart brought back to life by the front door.}

This week the fence company came back to try and address the remaining issues - and really, they did.  I feel like I can just write the check for the remainder and call that DONE.  Besides, there is a lot to do back there!  I spent about 2 hours raking the entire back yard, collecting remaining rocks, limbs, and chunks of wood (grrr), trimmed up a tree that was growing too close to my crepe myrtle, and filled 6 lawn bags with leaves and debris.  Next on the list is blowing out the red lava landscaping rocks, cleaning off the patio, and pouring my wine...  I know it can't all get done in one day!  Plus, I agreed to work some extra hours tomorrow and Friday, so Hubby can help me work on the list this weekend.
Left to do:
Add bricks next to the fence so we don't lose all those lava rocks*
Powerwash the stepping stones and patio, clean the furniture
Dismantle the deck
Plan out the new patio 
Get some quotes for sod and topsoil
Change up the edging under the trees 
Maybe add tiny white lights along the patio roof 
******
My goal is to have the backyard be a sweet place to enjoy the firepit this Fall, and we are well on our way! 




Gina

*I'll explain this in a future post!

Monday, October 17, 2016

What the week holds, and fence woes...

From the Good News/Bad News Department - the fence is done.
The good news is that the fence itself looks overall pretty good.  New, bright - even the neighbors are happy and two of them are bringing me money to help pay for it, so yay!  There are some areas here and there that need to be addressed, but I feel like the fence company will make them right.
Such as boards that do not match up - not sure what they were thinking when they put in that tiny sliver of a board.
Or how they could have called this gate done when there is at least a 3 inch gap.
And the"fancy" cut work around this tree that has grown right on the property line - it's creative, but messy.  The thing that made me the most disappointed was the site clean-up that didn't happen.
 Are you kidding me?
 We won't even talk about the smashed wandering jew - it will bounce back.
 But the concrete spillage - why?
    And the trash left behind, not to mention lots of tree and shrub trimmings they just left wherever.
That just won't do.  
I called my salesman and he assured me that it would be resolved.  That was Friday afternoon.  It is now Monday afternoon and I have not heard from them.  Meanwhile, Hubby bought a large magnet and ran it over and across the yards several times.  We could probably build a new fence with the screws and metal left behind.   Under a lawn mower they would be projectiles. That is not cool.  So, the final check will not be written until I have my yard and landscaping back in order.  But I am pressing on...
This week I am getting the carpets cleaned on Wednesday, seeing the eye doc and the physical therapist on Thursday, and enjoying another Friday night football game on Friday (we won last week!), plus all of the usual here - work, chores, etc.  It's going to zoom by fast, as all weeks seem to do lately!  What does your week look like?



Gina

Friday, October 14, 2016

5 thing Friday - wine, backyard, flip flops, gifties, handsomeness

This week has been all about the spending...
The  closing went off without a hitch...it was all the stuff leading up to it that caused stress!  Hubby and I went directly from the title company to Torr Na Lochs and got a bottle of our favorite, Fion Dearg to enjoy with our picnic lunch near the barn, on what is now our land,
{When you take that first sip of wine, aerate it in your mouth by drawing in air, like you are sucking through a straw.}  The best thing about that wine, in my opinion is the herbal and tobacco notes.  And I think that the Texas High Plains produces some of the best grapes. So good!  And how great is it to have a winery so close to the new place?
As of the writing of this post, here is the backyard, still in the process of getting a new fence.  For some reason it looks even smaller to me.  And when it's all said and done, I will have quite a lot of work to do. Still reminding myself to take it one step at a time, but I am anxious to get it spruced for Fall.
Last summer I got some hand-me-down orthotic sandals from Orthaheel.  I have loved them so much I bought another pair, in black this time.  I think my days of wearing Okabashi's are over.  I know it looks like my chubby feet are spilling out from these flip flops, but really, they are so comfy that I can wear them and stay on my feet for hours.
The Charlie Madison's lady has such beautiful stuff - I ordered this pretty one of ruby jade for a dear friend.  I'm giving it to her with a box of notecards featuring Scout's work.  I ordered another bracelet of Amazonite (light blue) for a friend at work.  And of course, I ordered myself one of the lava bead infuser bracelets and some matching earrings. {we'll just call that my early birthday present}   I do love me some joory!
Bubbie is taking his sweetheart to the homecoming dance on Saturday and needed a dress shirt and tie.  I ended up buying him two shirts, and two more for Hubby.  I got some pretty good deals all around. The dance is tomorrow night and I still need to go get flowers!
Bubbie is quite the looker.  When I showed this pic to my mother she said "where did he get those good looks?"  When I replied "genetics", she merely asked me again - she was being a little tacky....  It's no secret that my mother has her opinions.  
Regardless, he is one Handsome Devil.



Gina


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Saddlehorn Winery

There's not a whole lot to this post - just photos, mainly, of a winery I visited near Brenham.  I don't know why I haven't stopped there before a couple of weeks ago, on the way home from my mother's house.  It was out in the middle of wide open spaces and I was pretty much the only customer!
A gravel road leads up to the winery itself, surrounded by what looks like it was once ranch land.
I thought it was pretty and country-looking.  Just a simple place, really, no frills like some of the other wineries we have visited.  No pretense.
I didn't take pictures of the inside -  because I was the only customer and that would have felt awkward!  - but it was very pretty.  A large plate glass window behind the tasting bar lets you see into the tank room.  The walls were covered in wood planking and there were hand craafted looking  tables and stools surrounding little tables - perfect for a cozy glass.
I love stone patios!  There was also a much larger one out back, and they have a wine club, so I imagine they draw quite a crowd on pick-up days.
They grow Lenoir, or Black Spanish, grapes along with a white varietal.  I only tasted the red wines and I liked them all - I took home some of the Black Spanish wine which was very good with that weekends' BBQ.  Hubby and I enjoy finding these new places to visit - sometimes together, sometimes on our own. Add this one to the list of places to visit together soon!



Gina

Monday, October 10, 2016

What the week holds, and steady on

A couple of weeks ago my mother fell in her yard and fractured her arm.  She managed to gather her wits, call a neighbor to take her to the ER, then call a couple of my sisters for help.  I didn't hear about it until Monday, but it sounds like she was in capable hands.
One sister took the chickens back to her house, the other took my mother and her dog to hers.  I followed up the next week, making sure the trash was taken out, the dishes cleaned, the fridge in order, mail collected and clothes fetched.  I know I am not making the same sacrifices as my sisters, but I am willing to do what I can to help.  So I will probably go back there to make sure all is well with the house and pick up anything else Mother needs.
 My mother will tell you herself that she makes for a poor houseguest.  Not the least of which because she cannot seem to get comfortable enough to sleep.  But also because she is rather set in her habits.  Combine that with a hostess that, while gracious, is not patiently putting up with a lot of nonsense, and you have a miserable 86 year old that wants desperately to be back in her own home.  But before she can go back to business as usual, we are going to have to make some changes.  The chickens are not going to be able to control the entire yard, scratching deep holes that make navigating the yard treacherous (culprit #1).  And stairs may have to give way to ramps.  And slippery throw rugs have to go away.  As well as tennies that have worn soles. (culprit #2)  And having a regular lawn service come and take care of the mowing is definitely a must.  She has no business on a riding lawnmower, especially in that hole-y yard!
I want to encourage my mother to live independently as long as she can.  I feel like taking her away from all of her things - her friends, her routine, and her freedom - is not a good thing.  And except for falls hazards around the house, I feel like we can accommodate that.  Let's just see how the sisters feel about it in a couple of weeks.. This week I have to schedule more PT for my elbow, give Hubby a haircut, work on Friday as well as help with catering committee and go to a football game.  I may pick up my mother for a "time out".  Last week I took her to lunch where we enjoyed us some Mexican Martinis.  Thank God she was steady on her feet when we got back to my sister's house!  Today and tomorrow I need to get the potted plants and some other things out of the fence guys' way.  Plus, laundry and dishes need to be addressed today...Whew!  
What does your week look like?



Gina

Friday, October 7, 2016

Use what you have: frugal apple pie

On Wednesday night, in keeping with my goal of cooking more, I made Beef Stir Fry, as per Bubbie's request.  And also by popular demand, dessert!  It made the house smell especially wonderful and was frugal, to boot.
Dessert is something we have once a week or so.  But I had gotten out of the habit again.  No worries - I have some wrinkly apples and an extra pie crust in the freezer.
Whenever I am tempted to throw away overripe fruit, I think of baked goods.  No one realizes the banana chocolate chip muffins have those brown bananas in there...and no one cares if the skin on the apples for the pie is wrinkled...
I sliced up the peeled apples and added a few orange flavored dried cranberries, about a tablespoon of flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  I piled it into a greased dish with a crust, and dotted it with butter.
Then I folded the edges of the crust up a bit and stored it in the fridge.  When I left to go pick up my band kid, I put it into the oven, set the timer for an hour at 350, then left the house.  It smelled so good when we got home!
If I were using Granny Smith apples, like I love to do, I might have let the sugar sit on the sliced apples for 20 minutes or so.  It draws out the juices and makes the best pie!
Apple pie with ice cream as a dessert for stir fry night is a good thing, Martha.




Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Simple things

When I picked Bubbie and a friend up from band practice yesterday, the friend asked if I cooked a lot.  That was because immediately Bubbie asks "what's for dinner?" every time I pick him up!  The friend said his mother rarely did. 
And I realized that it's been a long time since I could say that I cook "5 days out of 7".  It just seems like, with our schedules, I'm not cooking as much lately...So, I guess I need to address that.  Making a cozy home has many aspects, not the least of which is good food.  We are very lucky and I feel thankful for that every day!  It's a simple thing, dinner.  Doesn't have to be fancy.
So, hooray for Fall being here, and plans to cook more and make my home look pretty.  {And next week the fence company is coming, so pretty soon, I will get to make the backyard ready for Fall, too.}   Aren't these glass pumpkins and squash pretty?  I love glazed pottery.  I think I spent a couple dollars each on them at Michael's - cheap thrills.
The shelf in the front room is like a second mantle.  I added some fall greenery up there along with my pumpkins and called it done.  And doing that made me think about all of the fun things we have to look forward to this Fall.  Do you ever do that?  Find that a simple thing makes you think of Big Things?  Maybe that's what simple things are for!



Monday, October 3, 2016

What the week holds, and Happy Anniversary!

A quote I read recently said that a spouse is someone who will stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you had stayed single.  Ha!
Cute young things, ca. 1982!
  
This week is mind boggling to me with all that I need to do.  Steady on, Mom, you can do it!  Marching band practice for Bubbie all week with a game on Thursday, physical therapy for my elbow twice this week, Hubby in San Antonio for business for two days, our 31st wedding anniversary on Wednesday, driving to Georgetown to take my mothers some things she requested and feeding her a nice lunch, closing on the Burnet property on Friday. Whew!  Our plan is to stop by Torr Na Lochs on Friday after closing a buy a bottle of wine to celebrate with at our new place.  Still haven't named it so maybe we will do that, too!
What does your week look like?





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