Friday, May 30, 2014

The Guitar Man

A week ago we went to Scout's guitar concert at the high school.  It was fun to see all of the kids so seriously into making music.  Scout gave up marching band for guitar and he really loves it - and I am happy that he stills plays a musical instrument.  I think doing so helps with focus and memory.  At least that's my theory!
 Here he warms up with a friend (in black shirt) that he's known since middle school,
and one of his best scout buddies.
And the kid on the far right is another high school buddy.  One of the teachers is singing "No Particular Place to Go" by Chuck Berry.  It brought the house down!  They all seemed to be having a good time.
 Here they are playing their first number "Baby Blue" by Badfinger.  Now I can't get that tune out of my head!
 The audience clapped along like it was a rock concert - such fun!
 Can you tell I was super far away with my crappy camera?  Hubby filmed the whole thing, so it's all good!
 His group also played "More than a Feeling" and "Runnin' Down a Dream".  Probably to him, these are super ancient songs.  To me, they're high school and "just before kids"!
 Scout did well on his final exams this week - once we get past Monday and Tuesday of next week, we are commencement-bound, and high school will be but a memory...but playing the guitar will be something he can do for a long time.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beef Nacho Skillet

This recipe is by way of a Kraft recipe that I adjusted mainly so I wouldn't have to use the oven.  It's really tasty - don't leave out the salad dressing - it makes a BIG difference.
Beef Nacho Skillet

1 pound lean ground beef
1 12 oz jar salsa, your choice
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. salad dressing
2 T taco seasoning (I make my own)
chopped onion and cilantro to equal about 3/4 c.
2 c crushed tortilla chips
2 c grated cheddar - I used a mix of white and yellow cheddar. 
Brown the ground beef in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Stir in the onion and cilantro and cook 3 min.    
Add the frozen corn and taco seasoning, then salsa.  
Turn heat to low and cover the skillet while you grate the cheese. (maybe 5 minutes or so) 
 Stir in the salad dressing.  Then dump the crushed chips in and gently incorporate them. 
Top with the grated cheese and cover the skillet, turning off the heat. 
Let rest 5 minutes then serve.  My peeps like to add sour cream and guacamole on top of theirs, but that's optional!
Mealtime conversation not guaranteed...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mealplan Monday #112 and Scout's school pics

When the Girl graduated from high school, I put together a collage of school pics as a keepsake for her.  She still hasn't taken it to live with her permanently - maybe she's holding onto us a teesny bit?  Who knows...
 I want to do one like it for all of them.  {note to self: Get Firstborn's done}  Last Friday I worked on the one for Scout.  My dining table was the scene for a trip down memory lane as the washer repair guy did his thing.
 I keep all of the "extras" from portrait packages, and always a wallet or two for myself, so it was easy to get a representative pic from all of his years in school.  
 And it was lovely to see how he has grown into a man.  Literally right in front of my eyes!
This project had me crying into my lunch.  Scout was, and is, the sweetest, most loving, dear child.  That face!  I could just eat him up.
Monday - Dad's off - maybe he will grill again?
Tuesday - Healthier Tater Tot Casserole
Wednesday - Whole wheat spaghetti with meatsauce, salad
Thursday - Bourbon Street Chicken, brown rice, carrots
Friday - Lazy Daisy Meatballs, peas, masheds (leftover, in freezer)
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Parmesan Garlic Chicken, rolls, salad
Dessert this week will be Lemon Ice Box Pie (Luby's recipe)
 Scout shares the middle slot with The Girl, so it hasn't been the typical middle child struggle for him.  He is easy-going, compliant, sweet and good-natured, never one to make a fuss, brag, or hurt others.  One of the nicest people you will ever meet.
 He's a laid back kinda guy that enjoys his down time - I would love for him to be a little bit more competitive and ambitious, but it just isn't his nature.  And after all, you have to be true to yourself and follow your own path.
I'm proud of the awesome young man he's becoming and I know that he loves us as much as we love and treasure him.

Friday, May 23, 2014

5 thing Friday - Sugar, recycles, apples, blooms, Bubbie

My kitty got sick.  I have no idea what she could have gotten into.  We don't have real indoor plants, I feed her old lady cat food, we don't let her outside.  She puked spit so much it was tinged green.  She pooped in the hall.  She was listless and not eating or drinking.  She never does these things.
I moved her to a towel in the bathroom.  She didn't even scream to be let out.  It'was worrisome.  She got better, but I have no idea what that was all about.
The recycle bin overflowing to the brim is a good thing, but a pain in the rear.  Much as I would like to keep it's unattractiveness hidden away in the pantry, it just gets full too often.  I'm thankful that Austin has such a great recycle program.  Our street dumpster is full to the brim every two weeks.
Wrinkly almost-too-old apples are fabulous in apple cake with walnuts.  At least they don't go to waste.  Although, it's getting to be too hot here to use the oven on a regular basis.  They are also great in oatmeal and no one notices they aren't as crisp.
Not everything you buy at Dollar Tree is worth a buck.  Though my Mother's Day bouquet for work turned out pretty, it was a pain to put together because the blooms kept falling off the stems.    And the pink plastic cutlery I bought to match actually became deformed in hot food. 
Bubbie earned First Class, Second Class, Honor Scout, and Order of the Arrow at the last Court of Honor.  Next stop: Star Scout.  He's growing like a weed and doing well in school.  And he got his braces off this week - halleluyah!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Visit to Brenham

I went to Brenham last week to see my mother for a late Mother's Day.  I helped with a couple of projects around her house and took her to lunch.  During the course of the day she "zingered" me a few times.  But I tried to look past all of that so we could have a nice visit.  And for the most part, we did.
 We spent a lot of time outside.  She had to show me her new chickens, her garden, and a nest of birds in one of her oleander bushes.
 I tried to zoom in to get a picture of them, but all I ended up with was fuzz.  They stopped bobbing around for food when they realized we were not their mama!
Although, maybe that's a beak sticking up?
 We went to a couple of plant places searching for petunias to put in the planter boxes hanging on the chicken house.  These are called Wave Petunias - they will trail down the sides of the planter boxes and make the chicken house look sweet.
 And admired the pretty cactus plants - there were so many to choose from!
 She bought a couple of them for a cute terra cotta pot that sits on her deck.
 I cleaned up some empty pots she had and added some lantana that one of my other sisters brought her.  I pulled weeds around this row of bricks, swept them, then spaced the pots out.
  Swept the deck, watered everything, pulled errant weeds and grass from inbetween the boards.  I should have taken a before shot - this is a huge improvement.
 She didn't want to plant these in the yard but she had the empty pots, and lantana is drought resistant.  I expect these plants will do well since they get full sun and are easily watered.  I also pulled weeds from her rose bush and watered it, too.
 She made a terrarium of sorts out of an old fish tank and added ferns and a few rocks, with styrofoam peanuts on the bottom layer for drainage, with a few rocks here and there.  I also re-purposed an old red wicker basket to hold all her tennies and gardening shoes.  Though you can barely see it, it sits between the terrarium and the back door.
It was nice to work on the back deck for an hour or so, helping her spiff things up a little.  Though it's not easy for me to get to Brenham more often now that I am working a 40 hour week, I should probably schedule it in more often.  Sometimes it's discouraging that she blurts negative things about myself, kids, and hubby.  I try to make an allowance for the fact that she is elderly, and really, that she's always been the way she is.  Sometimes you have to  accept the flaws to appreciate the beauty, you know?  I was glad to spend the time with her, and I think she enjoyed it, too..

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mealplan Monday #111 and Mother's Day by candlelight

I lovelovelove those little wax tart burners.  You know the ones - you can get them as an outlet plug-in, or a little bigger as an electric desktop plug-in, or for use with votive cups.  I have several of them around the house and  I switch out the scents on a regular basis.  Which means I have a lot of these:
 The wax that is leftover is still somewhat smelly-ful...and I have seen on Pinterest where you can make your own candles using them.  So, since Mother's Day was coming up and I was going to be spending 12 hours of it with three other women, I decided to use them for a craft.
 Off I went to my favorite thrift store to see about getting one-of-a-kind china tea cups as my candle holders.  I think I did good!  They were all about $1 each.  
So pretty, and believe it or not, practical.  You could use china tea cups for so many things.  Wouldn't they also be handy on the side of the sink to hold your earrings or rings?  Or for pins in the sewing room?  Or even for your afternoon "kwaufee"?
 I melted the wax in chunks in the was a tedious process.
 Nuke, stir.  Nuke, stir.  Nuke stir.
  Then, I located some old candles to harvest the wicks out of.  I could have just bought wicks and such, but I was loathe to go out to Michael's or Joann.  Totally loathe.  
And I know the wicks will fit - see?
Monday - Pork Carnitas Roast, whole wheat tortillas, lettuce, tomato, etc.
Tuesday - Beef Nacho Skillet - recipe coming!
Wednesday - Skillet Pork Chops, ranch style red potatoes, brocc/cauli mix
Thursday - Brinner: Eggs, biscuits with sausage gravy, hashbrowns
Friday - Green Chile Enchiladas, salad, bacon-topped guacamole, chips
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Pizza, salad
Dessert this week is Cookie bars
When I get this process down a little better, I will do a tutorial about what I found works best.  But for now, 
 ...look at the pretty china tea cup candles!
 The above one is my favorite - bone china from England.  So delicate!
These pretty candles went to the ladies I work with on the weekend.  We had a nice Mother's Day with some delish food for an all-day feast.  I think it was a nice way to celebrate being a mom - helping other moms with their sick ones, since it kind of put it into perspective, you know?...and I so hope these candles bring them some warm Mother's Day memories!


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