Friday, May 31, 2013

No more laundry at Mom and Dad's

How can I miss him if he won't go?  Seriously.  
He shows up just about every day.
  It's not like I don't worry for him and still want to see him now and again, but if he never breaks free of his parent's home, he won't know how to handle life's little inconveniences and problem solve them for himself.  Plus, his laundry has automotive grease on it.  It can no longer be washed in my machine along with everyone else's stuff.
I think he misses us.  And I think he's a bit lonely.
But it's time for baby bird to cope on his own.  The only way you can learn about life in that Big Adult World is go on and live it...
Don't worry 'bout a thing, Firstborn.  You'll do great.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crafty Swap

It's threatening to storm out, and I needed a break from helping Firstborn with his laundry - yes, he moved out.  More on that later...Michelle at Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven is having a craft swap.  Count me in!  I haven't been so lucky on these "swaps" in the past, but they are fun to do.  Perfect day for it.
 Some day I'll have a craft room.  Until then, I haul everything out into the kitchen.  I went through my scraps to find some beautiful color.  My plan was to make my "swappee" (that's not a word...) a couple of book marks and a coaster for a mug of coffee or tea.  I can't spend a bunch on this and you can tell I'm not a crafter.  But it was fun!  I even made a couple coasters for The Girl, who has been forgetting to use her Tervis tumbler.
 I love the combo of these colors.  Sort of antique.  In fact, a couple of the prints are Civil War reproductions.  The others are from some Pottery Barn napkins and scraps from various projects.
I put them together with some Taste of Austin and Taste of San Antonio coffees, and a Texas postcard.  One of my favorite things is putting my feet up in the evenings with a good book and a glass of wine.  Maybe she likes to do the same thing.
Hope Donna enjoys her little sussies!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mealplan Monday #62 and Bubbie in band

 In just a few days Bubbie will leave middle school forever.
And so will I.  It's been a looooong three years for me - preceded by 8 years of his older siblings through the same middle school.  I am as ready for middle school to end at my house as I was for elementary school to end - there were 15 years of that.  Yikes.
He's staying in band, which is great, and now will play the marching band version of euphonium - baritone.  The first day he got it, he came home and immediately started polishing it up and practicing it.
Monday - Dad grill for Memorial Day
Tuesday - Mole Enchiladas, black beans, salad 
Wednesday - Stir fry, ramen
Thursday - Crispy Cheddar Chicken, rice, brussels sprouts
Friday - Pizza Night - mom no cook!
Saturday - Turkey Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, baby limas
Sunday - Pork and Pasta Bake, salad
Dessert this week is Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake
(the menu this week uses up a lot of freezer items!)
Onward, to high school...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Homemade seasoning blends

I love buying different spices and seasoning blends - some favorites of ours are Cavendar's Greek and Salzanador Total.
But I could just as easily whip up custom spices of my own, and I do when I have just a small amount left in the spice jar and want to use it up.  I've been saving the caps from the empty parmesan container to screw onto a mason jar just for that purpose:
Aren't my labels fancy-dancy?  Imperfectly perfect.
They live in the spice cabinet next to the cooktop and I use the super pepper seasoning on everything.  I couldn't tell you what all is in it - dabs of this and that.  But mostly it has salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
The taco seasoning is adapted from recipes I see on various blogs - when you are making your own seasoning mix, you tweek it to adapt to your taste, which is what I did:

Taco Seasoning 
1 1/2 T sea salt
2 T black pepper
6 T chili powder
4 T ground cumin
4 t. paprika
2 t garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
2 t. sugar

It smells wonderful - can't wait to use it in ground turkey for taco salads this summer!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Food planning is a tricky thing...

Monday I did my usual thing after taking Bubbie up to the dentist to see about a broken bracket.  It was a busy weekend, and I  felt terrible, but I knew I had to get a couple things done before going back to bed.  Catching a virus is an occupational hazard when working at a hospital.  But I don't get PTO at my home job...
Anyway, after I had put everything up, it seemed to me as though I hadn't planned as well as I liked.  We had a LOT of food already in the freezer, and our fridge is fairly full.  Which isn't terrible, of course, and I know it won't stay that way, but is it really necessary to buy a full week's worth of groceries at a time when I already have things I can cook, right there in the freezer?  Plus, even with coupons, I ended up spending a lot.
 There are complete meals in there, just waiting to be worked into menus.  We aren't even finishing up all of each meal like we used to, so there's leftovers aplenty.  I so hate wasting food.
With more than enough in the pantry, too, I think I will change up how I shop next week.  Instead of making out menus the previous week, typically Wednesday, I think I will wait until Monday actually gets here, then decide what to buy for the week.  And next week, I want to use up a few of those things in the freezer I had forgotten about. It will be interesting to see what I can come up with for meals!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mealplan Monday #61 for lucky me

Yes, Mother's Day was over a week ago...but I worked all that day and the next and it took me two days to play catch-up at my house on all my chores, nevermind doing things I wanted to do!  So, I ordered myself a new pair of work shoes to reward myself:
 They're so me!
Still gotta break 'em in...
Monday - Slow-Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Beef Chilaquiles, salad
Wednesday - Salmon, asparagus, whole wheat pasta with garlic
Thursday - Easy Tomato Baked Chicken, mashed potatoes, corn
Friday - Italian drip beef sammies, chips
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Dr. Martin's Mix (with brown rice)
I figured that I wasn't getting a gift, but when I got home last Sunday I found roses, a chocolate cake, tequila, and some spicy sauces.  Very random.  Then on Monday, Scout brought home some grape jelly and scone mix he made in Foods class.
Sometimes I feel lucky  (:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lesson learned - hopefully

It felt like he was leaving a whole lifetime behind.  Like he didn't love, care about, or appreciate his family and our lives together. 
Silly of me.  
And I learned a very important lesson while cleaning out Firstborn's closet:
Rustown Art

Save some of their special art - that's great.  Photograph the rest for all eternity. 
Save photos, awards, and special collections.  But be choosey.
Save toys that you spent a fortune on IF you think someday they might be worth something or if you dream that grandchildren will come to visit some day.
But don't try to make the things that you treasure the things that they become burdened with.  Because, most likely, what's important or special or sentimental to you is not as special to them.  Let them choose.  Let them let go of some of the stuff.  Don't make them lug it around forever. It doesn't mean they are letting go of their childhood, or even you.  It will be tough, but so are you.
Lesson learned.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spare room finished!

I'm finally finished cleaning the now spare bedroom and getting it spiffed for The Girl to use over the summer.
After cleaning the carpet (twice!) I did a touch-up job on the paint here and there and added a single white panel to soften the blinds.
 I asked Firstborn to leave these floating shelves up, as they required a sizeable hole in the wall to hang.  I like them - but I won't be putting more of them up in my house...I added a couple of pretties just so they wouldn't look empty.
 I plan on using this closet to store their things that they aren't ready to take with them - case in point are the baby books, photo albums, and yearbooks.
You can see the "memory boxes" underneath the shelf - each of them must weigh 50 pounds.  (And there are two more besides these...)  Still plenty of room to hang clothes and set shoes on the shelf.
For the bare walls I found a deal on frames at Kohl's - a $100 frame set for $30, less 20% and with $10 Kohl's cash it was $14.
Not too bad, and if I decide in the future to take them down, I won't fret since they are pretty cheapie as frames go - lightweight plastic and very thin glass.  I had some recent pics reprinted at Walgreen's and used a 40% off code, added in some recent school pictures and was done. 
 It's next to impossible to get a decent pic in this room...
 I also used Kohl's cash to get a mattress cover and I made the bed using spare linens - the girl will pile it up with her pillows and a quilt.  The IKEA furniture is from storage in the garage and belongs to her - she will take it back to Waco at the end of the summer.  I shopped the garage for the lamp and the mirror over the dresser - the lampshade was $5 at Wal-Mart.
I arranged the shelves so that she could use the bottom one as a sort of table and just added a few things to the top ones so they wouldn't be bare. It's sparse in here - looks like a hotel room!  But hopefully, it will be a comfier place to sleep than last summer.  
On to Waco tomorrow, to help her pack up her apartment...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mealplan Monday #60 with a good book...

I made a *free* bookmark with tiny proofs from The Girl's sorority photos.  
I couldn't throw them away!
 I carefully cut out the tiny pics, glued them in a row, then "laminated" them with clear packing tape.  On the back of the bookmark is this quote:
"And thou shall in thy daughter see, this picture once, resembled thee"
A. Phillips
Monday - Burritos, Spanish rice
Tuesday - Cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, garlic toast
Wednesday - Tilapia tacos, black beans, guacamole and chips
Thursday - Crock pot Ribs, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday - Fully-cooked burgers from HEB, chips (Boys go camping)
Sunday - Spagetti we never ate last week, salad
Dessert this week: Leftover Mother's Day fudge bundt cake
I found a pic of myself when I was about the same age.  But I think she looks just like her Dad - except for maybe the dimples, the head tilt, and the smile...

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Friday, May 10, 2013

The continuing saga of Firstborn moving out...

Thank goodness for my sister and her garage full of furniture.  She saved the day by donating things for my kiddos who are *trying* to leave the nest.
She lent us a mattress and box springs for The Girl's use.
For Firstborn she generously gave bar stools,
a small Baker's style rack for DVDs and such, two antique kitchen chairs with pads,
and an antique kitchen table for his new apartment kitchen.
There was no time to sand and re-stain it, tho I would have loved to.
 Plus a crap ton of boxes to pack his things in.  which.....he didn't do until the very last second.  Once he got his key, he couldn't wait to leave - I can't say I blame him.  I remember what that feeling of freedom and independence felt like.
This was the state of his room after he had taken most of what he wanted to take.  Um, no...come back and deal with the rest of it!  I learned a very important lesson here...stayed tuned.
His room was an absolute mess.  He's been working a lot of hours, or I would have cracked the whip a little about a week ago.  The carpet was almost too trashed to clean.  It took me well over an hour to vacuum and steam clean it after he took another load out.  And there were places on the walls that had to be touched up with paint. 
So, as of yesterday, this is the state of what is left: crap to be donated (old toys, and such), mementos and treasures, his personal files, and a chair he no longer wants.  And the room has gone thru a thorough cleaning and freshening and made livable for The Girl who arrives in T minus 1 week for the summer.


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