Friday, June 23, 2017

Fond of ferns

I took a bucket and spade with us to Highland's last weekend, to harvest a few ferns.  They grow wild all over the place, along with various cacti, cedar, and oaks.  Lots of flora to catalog up there some day...They grow very shallow roots so it was easy to dig up a couple of them.  We filled the bucket with water, and a day later, they had sucked it all up.  So I know they will be fine as long as I keep them watered.
I don't know the first thing about growing ferns, except that I love them.  I had a couple of empty pots all ready for their new homes.  Pulled off as much of the dead fronds that I could, just to pretty them up a bit.  Watered them again with a little Miracle Gro added. Then placed some large rocks in the pot to discourage the squirrels from digging.  The red rocks area off the patio is shady and a bit cooler than the rest of the backyard.  Similar to the situation they were in out at Highlands - we found them in shady areas under trees.
I moved Mr. Owl a little closer to this group of pots, in case the squirrels feel like they need to investigate.  I'm excited to see how they do!  If they thrive, I will pull up a few more for a friend and my mother.  I think potted plants add an element of  relaxation to this little corner of my world, and I really love the ferns!  
Do you grow ferns?  Got any tips?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Man Quiche

My peeps enjoy a quiche now and again.  For breakfast.  Along with other breakfast foods.
But if you try to pass it off as a main dish for dinner, they look at you sideways.  So I had to come up with a quiche that the menfolk would readily accept as dinner one day last week and I think I did good!  I pulled out one of my freezer pie crusts and a deep dish pie dish and got to filling it with eggs, half and half, cheese, spinach, sausage, and bacon.  It might not be a magazine-pretty quiche, but I barely got a slice of it the next day for my breakfast!
Rustown Quiche
5 eggs
1 1/2 c half and half
1/2 bag of baby spinach, wilted in a little bacon fat and cooled well
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
8 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 package brown and serve breakfast sausages (frozen)
1 pie crust for a deep dish pie

Preheat over to 350.  Cook bacon* and shred cheese and set both aside. Using a tablespoon or so of the bacon fat, saute the spinach until just wilted and set aside to cool.  Beat the eggs with the half and half and season with salt and pepper. Toss the grated cheese with a tablespoon of flour and sprinkle into the crust.  Layer bacon pieces next, followed by a layer of the wilted spinach.  Pour the egg mixture over that.  Top with frozen sausages.  Bake until set - about an hour and a half in my case.
I let this cool, then popped it into the fridge with instructions for them either to heat it a bit on their plate, or eat it cold.  I also had salad in there, but I can almost guarantee no salad was eaten...

*the easiest way to cook bacon is to go buy one of those microwave bacon trays!  Put 4 slices on the tray, cover loosely with a paper towel, and microwave for 3 to 3.5 minutes.  Perfectly crisp cooked bacon every time!  And the bacon fat pours out easily into a container you can store in the fridge...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mealplan Monday #23

Monday - Sloppy Joe's (freezer leftovers), chips, carrot sticks
Tuesday - Sweet Mustard Roast Pork (crockpot), mashed potatoes, veggie
Wednesday - Pesto Tortellini Pasta with Ham (we never had this a couple weeks ago)
Thursday - Jamaican Rice and Beans with mango salsa, corn
Friday - Cafe Rio Chicken Tacos
Saturday and Sunday - staying close to home since Mom is on call - maybe we will grill!

Friday, June 16, 2017

5 thing Friday - Brunch, rain, Firstborn, graduation, injury

 Weekend before last we attended a brunch in the vineyard at Torr Na Lochs.
It was cloudy but somewhat cool, so no one minded.  They served breakfast pastries, fruit, kolaches, and some white wine and rose sangrias.  It was nice to sit there and chat with other wine club members and enjoy an outdoor breakfast for about 2 hours.
Petite Syrah grapes!
Normally they don't let you wander amongst the vines.  The owner was also out there with us and answered everyone's questions about growing grapes - a very interesting process.  His wife remarked that once you got him started, you couldn't stop him.  He had a crowd of people around him the whole time.
Highlands is only 3 miles away.  The minute we got there it started storming!  Although we were inside Mabel, the rain on the barn was loud.  It was quite relaxing, though, and the lake really needs the rain.  After it rained we sat outside and got a bit of sun.  Then it was back to Austin to start the work week, but what a nice break.
I don't see this person very frequently anymore, but when I do, it's nice.  He's an adult in every sense of the word, but when I see him, I also picture him as a small child.  Weird, huh?  Your babies never stop being your babies, I guess.
Creeper photo bomber on the graduation bus!  On graduation day, the boys and I got to school early enough to ride an air-conditioned coach bus, so it was a nice trip to the Erwin Center.  However, it was a yellow school bus back from downtown in Friday rush hour traffic back to the school where we had all car-pooled from.  Can't win them all.
"Minor" mishap following graduation:  falling outside on the gravel sidewalk.  Week three at this point and it's still itchy and a bit painful.  If you want to see gory photos and read my tale of woe...go here.  Sigh.
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Giant Jenga

It seems like wherever we go now, there's a giant Jenga set.  And it makes sense, because it's the perfect reason to put down the phone and play a fun game.  Takes very little skill and only about 10 minutes or so per game.  Hubby won most of the games we played last Saturday!
We want to make a set like this for Highlands.  Seems like the perfect outdoor game to enjoy at a picnic table in the shade.  We have plenty of wood in the garage left from taking the kids' playscape down years ago...This particular one was at Twisted X Brewery in Dripping Springs, but we have seen them at a couple of wineries, too.  People had signed them and doodled all over them and they were well-worn.  Very low tech, but fun!  What do you think about giant Jenga?  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mealplan Monday #22

[Last week was all-around not much fun.  I didn't post but once - just wasn't feeling it.  This week will be better!  There are a couple of oven meals in the mix this week, but I'm thinking this may be the last week for that - too hot!}

Monday - Chili Dogs, chips, fruit
Tuesday - Cowboy Beans, corn muffins
Wednesday - Chicken Fajita Salads
Thursday - Swiss/bacon/spinach quiche, salad
Friday - Creamy Jalapeno Pork Chops, rice, corn off the cob
Saturday and Sunday are TBD

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Checking in on a hump day...

I'm not really sure of who all is reading my little ole blog, but I love to post here, and I haven't really been able to until this's been a very busy time since last Friday.  I had every intention of posting all about Bubbie's graduation, but things just got busy and I thought "oh, I'll never catch up!"
But I did take the time to "borrow" some pretty shots from my favorite photographer's blog:
 {I think these are the tiny flowers\weeds that cover the ground at Highlands}
Maybe in the next 5 thing Friday post I will re-cap.  Maybe this week.  I don't know - I feel a little frazzled still with all I need to do.  In fact, I need to get up from here and get ready to leave the house!
I've also felt under the weather - scraped my lower leg and had a big bout of vertigo.  So, in with all the other things I am trying to get done, I'll be visiting my doc.  {Gory pics might be posted on the other blog, we'll see.}  Life happens.  I'm pretty happy it's June and Hump Day!  Now to get on with the rest of my week...

Friday, June 2, 2017

It's fairly apparent...

...what this blog is not about.  You'll find bits and bobs about my family and myself, but am I trying to be an expert on how to raise kids?  Manage finances? Create Pinterest worthy meals and desserts?  Or decorate my house fit for a magazine spread.  No to all that!  Just a mom.  Trying to mom as best I can.
A lot of times I find myself throwing something together last minute, as I rush around the house getting ready to leave for work.  But somehow, I don't think Bubbie will view this little tableau as anything but a sincere effort on mom's part to make the house a little more festive on graduation day.  {more on that next week}  After all, it's the people that live in this house that are the most important - and they're the reason I document it here.  Happy Graduation Day, Bubbie.  I can barely believe it's here. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sunday dreamin'

It promises to be a crazy week here, so Hubby and I got the heck out of town on Sunday.  First stop:  Canyon of the Eagles for breakfast brunch.
We sat out on the deck, wondering how much rain we were going to get.  Hubby made friends with the waiter (because he's friendly to complete strangers), and we stuffed ourselves with puff pastries, scrambled eggs, migas, sauteed spicy onions and peppers, bacon and ham, and skillet potatoes.  So good and needless to say, we skipped lunch that day!  Then we headed out to Highlands for the afternoon, and left just before the storms.
As spring merges into summer here, with all of the hoopla so much change, it's nice to have these getaways to help us slow down a bit and relax.  Hopefully, I will be able to stick to my schedule of  last minute reminders this week and keep my wits about me.  Here comes graduation and all that it brings!  Happy last day of May...

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mealplan Monday #22

Busy graduation week here!

Monday - TBD but probably Hubby will grill for he and the boys
Tuesday - Crockpot Mediterranean Pork, Black-eyed pea salad
Wednesday - Freezer meal - Cowboy Casserole, salad
Thursday - Baked Mexican Tilapia, seasoned pinto beans
Friday - Graduation BBQ 
Saturday - Easy Chicken Enchiladas, guacamole salads, rice, leftover cupcakes
Sunday - Anyone's guess

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 thing Friday - burgers, photos, Bubbie, triquetra, weekends

One day last week I took myself and my free burger coupon to Mighty Fine.
I have to say it was better than I remember it being.  The burger was gigantic, fixed just the way I like it (read: mayo) and the onion rings were hot and crispy.  Austin has so many great places to get a burger!  My favorites are Whataburger and Top Notch.  I thought In and Out was pretty meh. P.Terry's and Short Stop are fine if you want an "OK" burger for a quick lunch.  Shake Shack is decent but ridiculously overpriced for what you get.  I love Smashburger - the fries are the bomb! And I had a bulgogi burger at Burger Tex recently that was pretty darn tasty.  I'm no burger aficionado, but I know what I like.  (:
I put together this collection of school photos for Bubbie in a mat and frame combo for $9 from Hobby Lobby. Those school photo packages you get at school?  I had so many photos left over and yet finding each year's pic was tricky!  However, I didn't sob all the way through it, so yay me.
 Bubbie and his GF of 3 years at the final band concert of the year.  So bittersweet!
 They had cupcakes decorated with the senior's baby pics.  Adorable.
I don't know how Bubbie feels about all these "lasts" he's a part of.  I think the month of May has flown by so fast, he hasn't had time to think about it much.  Plus, he started his first job and got a checking account, so in addition to finishing out the school year and all of it's tests and deadlines and applications and activities, he's been BUSY.
Graduation announcements went out yesterday so I feel somewhat on the ball.
I pondered buying one more James Avery charm for my bracelet to call it done, but it was going to be pricey.  So I went on Etsy and found this triquetra medallion, which is exactly what I wanted, and JA soldered it on fo free.  The triquetra is our symbol for Highlands.
Hubby and I enjoyed some wood fired pizza and cool weather on a breezy patio at Saddlehorn last weekend after visiting my mother in Brenham.  Hubby puts up with a lot...  His reward is weekends spent relaxing and sipping wine.  
As it should be.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What I should be doing...

It's one of those days when I have plenty to do, and yet I am finding it hard to get moving!
Not the least of which is make plans for graduation next week - NEXT WEEK.
I still have to figure out the logistics of the day, what we are going to eat and when, what to buy my new grad as a gift (I'm thinking a new laptop), and oh yeah, the announcements need to go out!  It's quiet at the house and I have a full coffee pot.  And I have everything I need to get going. Time to stop procrastinating...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mealplan Monday #21

Tried and trues, plus a couple of newbies!

Monday- Sloppy Joes, fritos
Tuesday - Indian Spiced Meatballs with spinach, basmati rice
Wednesday - Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad with Ham
Thursday - Parmesan Chicken with roasted potatoes, carrots
Friday - Lime Shredded Pork, taco fixin's
Saturday and Sunday are TBA nowadays!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cowboy Chicken

Christmas before last (I think) I ordered The Girl a recipe box and hand wrote some family favorites to get her started on her own collection of recipes.  She returned the favor by sending me some, too!  For whatever reason, I had not made this one yet.  No idea why - couldn't be easier and it turned out really tasty, though I have no pic of the finished product.  I only know it was great because I packed it for my lunch the next day!
I prepped the sauce ingredients into a bowl and pulled it out of the fridge when I was ready to throw it into the crock.

Cowboy Chicken
1 pkg of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trim the fat off)
1 T dijon mustard
2 c. fresh salsa - making your own is so easy*
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Her directions:
"Literally just throw everything into crock pot for 5 hours on low, then shred chicken, replace for 30 minutes more. Serve either on rice or in corn tortillas with 2% Mexican shredded cheese.  This recipe included 2 T brown sugar and 1/2 c. sour cream.  I cut it out and its still real good."
I love that she's already making the recipe her own!  The only changes I made to her directions is to cook a bit longer on low - 6 hours - and I didn't ask Hubby to shred the chicken as they were going to eat it in bowls over rice.  I chopped the salsa ingredients (pico de gallo) and just added them in.  Same same.
When I leave the house on Tuesday afternoons, this is the scene:  crock pot going, directions posted, kitchen clean, iced tea steeping.  Save me some leftovers, peeps!

*For salsa pico de gallo I finely chop a couple of large tomatoes, a full bunch of chopped cilantro, and a diced small yellow or purple onion.  Toss with the juice of one small lime.  I like ours chunky, but you could also spin this a bit in a food processor.  I make this once a week in the summer and we eat it with tortilla chips, or on tacos or scrambled eggs, and at the end of the week, I use whatever is left in something I am cooking!

Nifty and thrifty. Sort of.

Last week I hit a couple of thrift stores on my way into work.  It's been a while since I've gone, and I wanted to visit a new one close to the hospital.  I don't go looking for anything in particular, though lately I am drawn to clothes more than household goods.
Earlier this month I ordered some new clothes on line, which I was in dire need of.  (and I ended up returning most of it...)  But at the thrift store I couldn't pass up this cool and comfy rayon top that I thought would look cute over shorts or with a skirt. 
Just needs a press.
I also found this tiered skirt in a fun print.  Wrinkly and waaay too long for my 5'3" self, I lopped off the bottom flounce, gave it a quick hem stitch on the machine, and ironed it.  I LOVE IT.  I found a vintage navy tee at target to wear with it, too.  Skirts are one of my favorite things to wear.
The non-clothes items included this wicker wastebasket for The Lounge, mint condition.  And a cute wire basket to hold mail on the bookcase in the hall.
Mostly I am being mindful not to just buy something at a thrift shop just because it's cute or cheap - I want everything in here now to have a purpose, as Hubby and I will eventually need to think about downsizing.  But for less than $18 I have a couple additions to my wardrobe and two useful baskets!


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