Monday, March 20, 2017

What the week holds, and picking a door color

One the simplest projects at the top of my list involves painting the front door.  Years ago I gave it a new coat of varnish, but I did a sloppy job...then Hubby changed out the hardware and the previous footprint was noticeable....then, I spray painted the hardware and that was a flop...
I like our front door but I have done a shabby job of trying to pretty it up!  Time to get motivated, pick a color and get this one crossed off my list!
 I still want to hang a wreath here, so I don't want it to be brown or green.  I was thinking a blue, or even black.  I want to clean up the hardware and make it sparkle, too.
See the wooden bird in the wreath?  It was a find at Highlands.  I don't know what is was supposed to be originally, but I painted a pearly eye on it and onto the front door wreath it went.  Decor by happenstance.  This week I am pulling a lot of call, in addition to ending my 11 day streak at work.  Whew!  There is much to catch up on around the house.  On Wednesday there's a Pre-UIL concert to attend, then a wine club pick-up at Bell Springs that I hope to be able to attend on Saturday with Hubby, Firstborn, and Scout.  I know I sound like a broken record, but where do the weeks seem to go?!
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 17, 2017

The bunnies came out...

I don't know yet how much time off I will have on Easter, if any, but I am still looking forward to a nice Easter dinner with my peeps.  I decided I may as well make the house a little Springy-er.  And yes, I know it's St. Pat's day, but I'm not Irish, so...
 I pulled out some things here and there that say Spring to me, and that almost always involves yellow flowers and bunnies!
 Sometimes moss, too!
 I'm pretty much the only one at home who notices, I think!
But I love that when the house is clean and smells nice, and I see the bunnies, I know that Spring is here!  And maybe the boys do notice that the seasons are changing when the decor changes a bit, who knows...
Summer can't be far behind so we need to enjoy these cool, sunny days as long as we can!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Menus #11 and Organized Home Challenge update

Picking up again on the OHC - Weeks 9 - 11; Laundry room, laundry schedule, and cleaning schedule.  My laundry "nook" stays fairly organized.  It's so small that it has to!  I keep a basket on top of the dryer that has shirts and such to be ironed.  About once a week I pull out 5 things to iron.  That keeps the pile small. 
I also have a tension curtain rod up in here to store the extra hangers. And above that is a pants hanger with socks that have lost their mates. 
I've also streamlined the products I use: soap pods, bleach, liquid softener, and dryer sheets.  When the weather warms up to Hell on Earth, I will bust out the clothesline on the patio.  I don't really follow a schedule for laundry, I just try to stay on top of my hamper.  I let the boys do their own thing and it's WONDERFUL.  I change sheets out every week and I wash all the towels, but that's not such a big chore.
Wednesday - Crockpot Mexican Chicken, rice, black beans
Thursday - Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet (recipe soon!), salad
Friday - Papa Johns to the rescue...
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Pomegranate Beef, homemade masheds, freezer veggie
Monday - BBQ Turkeywiches, sweet potato oven fries
Tuesday - Sausage Spinach Bake (recipe soon!), carrots
As for a cleaning schedule I try to give myself time off from home chores as much as possible on Saturday through Tuesday, mostly just straightening here and there.  After work on Tuesday afternoon I grocery shop.  Kitchen gets cleaned daily - otherwise UGH.  Trash and/or recycles go out on Tuesday.  Linens get washed on Thursdays, along with floors and carpet.  Friday I give the bathrooms a once over.   For other chores I make myself a list of things I want to do/clean/organize on Wednesdays and I get to it!  Week 12 on the OHC is morning and evening routine.  Since that's about to change with my new hours at work I will just post a "plan" - I'm sure it will be a work in progress...

Monday, March 13, 2017

What the week holds, and a fun new place,

I realize the last several posts make it look like Hubby and I do nothing but drink.  But we are making up for lost time by enjoying a Happy Hour or wine pick-up party now and again, to sit and talk and relax.  That can't be wrong.  When our kids were small, we had NO ONE who would babysit for us, and being the self-sufficient types we were, we didn't really ask.  After all, we chose to be parents.  We were in it to win it.
We didn't have any money to spare for such frivolity, anyway, and parenting four children took all most of our free time.  At the end of a workday, or even a workweek, we were exhausted.  So we put all of that adult fun on hold for a great cause!  But we've been getting out these last couple of years and it's been fun.  Friday last week we discovered a teeny tiny bar very close to our regular grocery store.  Who knew?
It is cozy, has a delightful Happy Hour, and is just a few blocks from Hubby's new office.  Win, win, win!  This week is Spring Break here in Austin and so far the weather is gorgeous!  I have people actually lounging around INSIDE of the house - what is wrong with them.  Meanwhile, I have picked up extra hours at work since Hubby has eye surgery soon and we are somewhat short-staffed.  At the end of it, we have another pick-up party to attend - this one at Bell Springs.  I know...looks like we only drink, but I promise there is LOTS of other stuff in between!
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Gap season mantel and banner

Between Christmas and Easter, the only decor I really put up is Valentine's Day stuff, and even that isn't every year.  And it doesn't feel too much like Spring until we actually get to Easter, so there's a seasonal gap there...not winter, not spring, just...there.
But since I still have those hooks on my mantel from last Fall, I might as well keep using them for a banner of sorts.  This one I made from scrap fabrics and seam binding tape.  So easy to put together I didn't even do a tutorial.  I tried to pick fabrics that were pretty subtle and neutral.  I think I will leave it up until the Easter stuff goes out, then I will put it back when Easter is over.
 The Command hooks are clear and not all that noticeable.
After I made a loop, I brought the end of the bias tape over to where I was sewing the loop's seam and just included it.  Then I cut the resulting big loop in half to make a tie.  It might look like it is tied on to the Command hook, but the smaller loop is actually what's on the Command hook.
I made one in bright Spring-y colors for a friend, too - I hope she finds a fun place for it!
I like little pretty touches here and there in our home - I don't think the menfolk care about it so much.  But for me, when the house is clean and smells nice and is pretty?  I'm content to stay home and be a homebody!  Pretty soon it WILL be spring and I have projects I want to get started on...
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Menus #10, and Freezer Meals #17

Next week I am working some extra hours.  So, I wanted to be sure I had things to plop into the crock pot.  I would love to try a bunch of new things, but I picked several that were sort of tried and true, and added one or two new ones.  It's been since August that I have made a batch of more than one or two meals.  So I bought groceries yesterday, then hurried home to assemble them while Scout and GF ate leftover chicken tacos at the table.  Now she knows my secret - I'm not a great cook.  More like a Cook of Opportunity!
Most of these are for the crock.
I made:
Pomegranate Beef from A Year of Slow Cooking
Shredded Pork for Tacos
Ranch BBQ Chicken
Sweet Oniony Turkey - 1/2 jar carmelized onions, 1 can cranberry jelly, one 5# turkey breast
Mexican Chicken
Pesto Chicken (skillet)
And a pork roast that used the other half of the carmelized onions along with various spices
I am careful to stack my blobs of gallon zip locs until they are frozen, then they will all go onto the same shelf.
This week we are eating:
Wednesday - Crockpot Poor Man's Stew
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - Crunchy Crumbs Fish with peppers and onions, quinoa
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Crockpot Pork Roast, baked 'fried' okra (hubby bought two bags of these recently, and this is the extra one)
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas, corn
Tuesday - Meat patties with brown gravy, mashed, peas (a fav meal of Hubbys' from college)
Dessert is a St. Patrick's Pistachio Bundt cake from The Cake Mix Doctor
I didn't make as big of a mess as I thought - admittedly, the kitchen was not neat when I started.  I managed to get the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded quickly, though.  And some wine was had...

Monday, March 6, 2017

What the week holds, and monkeying around

Late posting as often happens on Monday.  Most of the time, if I don't talk about the week in advance by typing a post on Friday, it's old news by 4 p.m. on Monday.  Sometimes it can't be helped!  Last week, The Girl's busy season at work ended on Monday, and she told us she would come into town on Wednesday afternoon for a long weekend.  That was fine by me, even though I had to miss work due to illness on Tuesday...
So after laying around in bed all day Tuesday (which wasn't all bad as Hubby brought me Schlotzsky's and I binged Netflix and cross stitchin') I cleaned up the house and shopped on Wednesday - Hubby's first day at his new job.  The rest of the week passed in a blur, and on Friday, The Girl and I picked up the quarterly shipment at Infinite Monkey and enjoyed a glass of Malbec out on their "patio".  As wineries go, this is one of the most low key ones we are members of.  But we were pleased to read on the bottle that a portion of the profits goes directly to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Great wine and a great cause.
The shipment this go-round was tempranillo, and we enjoyed a bottle of that with our Chinese stir fry at home.  I'm not sure about that particular wine pairing, but the wine was delightful.  And all too soon the week was over and a new workweek had begun...
This week Bubbie has a doc appointment at lunchtime on Wednesday so he and I get to enjoy a lunch on the run together, I have a birthday gift for a friend to finish up (more soon), and I will probably visit Brenham to take my mother her birthday gifts.  There's also a lot of Teddy left here in the form of hair, but I don't mind giving the house a top to bottom clean since next week will be a bear for me...I'm also planning some freezer meals.
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 3, 2017

5 thing Friday - Winery visits, slobbiness, craftin', potatoes, chicken salad

A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I found a winery in Lampasas we we wanted to try.  The wine was good, but the place was in a state of half-finished landscaping and such, which for a customer, is kind of off-putting.  Turns out that the winery down the road a bit is owned by the twin brother to the winemaker at Legato.  The tasting lady said they are fairly competitive brothers,  but share a vineyard.  Only in Texas...
 Anyway, the family reunion blend had every grape they grow: Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot & Petite Syrah.  It was a very relaxed place - I'm sure we'll visit again.
This is the scene at work about a week ago.  There are grown adult, professional women that use this locker room.  It's discouraging.  I was going to straighten it up and pretty up the bulletin board, then I felt disgusted and didn't.  Maybe I will spruce and clean tomorrow when only three of us will be at work.  With a note that says: Your mother doesn't work here and we fired the maid.
 A bright Spring project is in the works!  I am gradually making my way through the mountain of scrap fabrics I have acquired and flexing my creative muscle, too.
Hubby and I enjoy us some breakfast out, and a couple of weeks ago we enjoyed some really good skillet potatoes.  The secret to fully cooked and browned potatoes is to cook the potatoes first, cool them, dice them, then fry in a little hot fat.  It might not be health food but I so love potatoes this way!
Wine pick-up party at Torr Na Loch.  Perfect weather, delightful chili, and Fion Dearg followed by Syrah.  Plus, there was a nice collection of reds to take home.  My only complaint is that there was no music!  But we had absolutely the best spot to sit with an amazing view.
Inks Lake to the distant left, Buchanan Lake to the distant right.
Ever eat something, then think "why don't we have that more often?"  We enjoyed rotisserie chicken salad sammies on toast for Sunday lunch, with some colorful chips.  It sure hit the spot!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday (un)Menu #9, and ch-ch-changes

Today is hubby's official first day at his new job.  I was told not to blab about it too much, but we are both fairly excited about it.  And for the past two weeks we have been hanging out together more, eating at Mexican restaurants and visiting wineries.  Because, vacation. Once he starts the job, we will have weekends only, and I still work those, so...
 At our new favorite place in Burnet, eating breakfast
Once he gets started at the new place it will be like a repeat of last year at this time, when he started the previous job - long hours, much grumpiness.  At least this time around I am not having to give his wardrobe a major overhaul.  But he will get a pay increase and will work closer to home with little travel.  Yay!
Wednesday - Sketti Casserole with meatballs and ricotta
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - Chicken Teriyaki, salad
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Crock Pot meal from freezer
Monday - Chicken tacos
Tuesday - Dr. Martin's Mix, veggie
Another fun place, this one in Austin
There's been so many nights that my meal plan got put on hold that I am actually not even shopping this week.  Might as well just fix the things I already have on hand, right? And make an un-menu! Between Hubby being off, Scout being in and out, Firstborn not coming over to eat leftovers...there's only three of us to feed and a lot of times we have either skipped dinner entirely, or ordered takeout.  Bad, I know.
But I am running out of freezer space and all of those groceries WILL get used.  Maybe our weekly groceries tab will finally shrink down a bit...


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