Monday, June 30, 2014

Mealplan Monday #117 and it's that time again

It's so hard for me to fathom how fast this summer is going - is it because three of the four kids are now graduated from high school?  Or that I am working more hours? Or that it just hasn't been as hot and dry a summer as in recent years?  I don't know - maybe all three.  But it's already time for Hubby and Bubbie to go to summer camp.  This year it's in Colorado.
So, the front room is once again a "staging area" as Hubby likes to call it.
Monday - BBQ Chicken Salad, garlic toast
Tuesday - Italian Layer Bake, marinated tomatoes
Wednesday - Thousand Island Pork Chops, mac and cheese, kale
Thursday - Greek Chicken Pizza
Friday - Dad grills - might be running the smoker..
Saturday - mom p/u takeout for Scout and The Girl
Sunday - ditto
Dessert will probably be ice cream
Scout and I will alter our plans very little besides figuring out how to get him to work.  It's doubtful we will get the new car by then. And hopefully, it won't rain the whole week!
I know this is not a popular opinion in Central Texas...but I am ready for the sun to shine and my back patio to dry out!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Our summer schedule (until band camp begins!)

I decided to write a simple schedule for us to follow for the summer - I'm trying to keep from getting so bogged down in doing chores every day that the summer slips away from us without getting to do much...that's a bummer for Bubbie, and no fun for me, either.  And he's been super bored, which is also no good.  At the same time, I want to carve out time for me to exercise and get to read.  So here's what we want to get done, at a minimum, each day:
Monday - Mom home by 3, go to pool, grocery shop, scout meeting in p.m.   Boys do their laundry while I'm at work.
Tuesday - Mom home by 3, then walk.  Do laundry, clean floors, boys take trash and recycles to the curb, mom make out menus and vacuum house.
Wednesday - Field trippin', go to pool, eat lunch out, run errands. Note - We decided to eat lunch out once per week, someplace new!  Last week was Lucy's:

It was so delish, but a bit on the pricey side, so that's why we're only doing the lunch out thing once a week.
Thursday - Mom walk, visit library, iron, everyone change sheets, Bubbie cook (He wants to learn to cook this summer - on his list to start are pretzels, donuts, and something with marzipan...), mom do desk work (bills, etc.)
Friday - Go to pool, movie night, gas up and clean car, mom finish up loose-end projects, get weekend filler groceries and something for Dad to grill.

******We will change up the schedule as we need to and I won't have to do certain chores more than once a week - win!******

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Asparagus Ricotta Tart

This was one of those recipes I made, enjoyed, but probably won't recreate on a regular basis....for one thing, it requires the oven.  For another, it's kinda frou frou, and my peeps scowl at frou frou.  They did eat it, though.  So maybe.
It doesn't re-heat in the microwave well, but you could eat it cold for lunch the next day, which is what I did!  The original recipe was printed in the Houston Chronicle, but I misplaced it, so here's what I did:

Asparagus Ricotta tart
Pre-heat oven to 400.  Unroll a package of thawed out puff pastry onto a baking sheet (use a Silpat or parchment paper underneath) poke holes over it with a fork and bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven. Mix 1 large-ish container of ricotta with 1 cup grated parmesan, 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsely, and the zest of a lemon with half of it's juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the ricotta all over the pastry.  Wash and trim a pound of asparagus and lay the stalks over the top.  Season again with salt, pepper, and the rest of the lemon juice.  (I also added some chopped cooked turkey breast cause people here scream if you serve them a vegetarian meal!).  Bake another 30 min or so, watching carefully to make sure the crust gets browned, not burned.
I served this with a "salad" of marinated grape tomatoes, purple onion, and green olives in some Good Seasons Italian dressing.  It made for a pretty Summer meal, don't you think?
This might be my new favorite way to serve tomatoes!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Mealplan Monday #116 and I love Shutterfly

When Shutterfly sends me a freebie to redeem, I jump on it!  And last week I got a free mousepad.  I decided to get one with this fun pic for Hubby's desk, to make him smile:
Scout's Graduation, June 2014

I added the quote "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do".  We'll call that an extra little Father's Day sussie!
Monday - Pesto Turkey Pasta, salad
Tuesday - Marlboro Man Sandwiches, coleslaw
Wednesday - Chicken Linguini with zucchini, carrots
Thursday - Beefy Bean Burritos, salad
Friday - Grilled cheese with bacon and avocado, tortilla chips and homemade salsa
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Crockpot Flank Steak, masheds
Dessert this week is 5 Layer Bars (recipe coming)
Here are a few of my fav photos I've had made into products from Shutterfly:

The boys at The Girl's graduation, 2010 (notecards)

 Scout and Bubbie at Zilker Park, Spring 2013 (magnet)

 Thanksgiving 2011 (Christmas card and magnet)

Christmas 2012 (notecards and notebook)

Summer 2012 (magnet)

Scout, 2014 (on a collage mug and reprints)

Seeing them as magnets on my work locker, decorating a ceramic coffee cup, or on notecards always makes me smile...
Do you take advantage of these offers, too?

Friday, June 20, 2014

5 thing Friday - A lazy cake, shoes, tote, cheap decor, CWM

Scout's high school graduation seems like a million years ago.  It went by in such a blur.  Seriously.  And June is halfway over!
 Yes, I made him a cake from a box with an imperfectly lettered design.  It was goood.
 Blue Raspberry flavored!
 I need to step away from the credit card.  I ordered myself two pair of shoes 
and a new tote for work.  My feet have been hurting lately for some reason.  My pinky toe is killing me!  So these shoes will be just the ticket.  Plus, The Girl gave me a gift card for Bath and Bodyworks that she had received for Christmas and wasn't going to use, so I ordered some schtuff from there, too.  Everything was on sale, everything will get used.  So there's that.
 A placemat from Tarjay makes a fine and dandy place to set a big vase and candle on the dining table.  Summer is not the time to get all fancy with decor.  I'm doing good just to keep the house in a reasonable state.
My new drink creation, in honor of how I feel: The Crazy White Mom:  gin, Mountain Dew WhiteOut, half a lime, ice.  But only because I was out of wine...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

I can't believe it's already the middle of June!  This is the first summer that I did not sit in advance and pre-plan how we would spend the bulk of the week.  Not planning things to do = boredom for me.  And in boredom's place, I usually clean.  Which is no fun for anyone, especially me...So here are a few things we decided to do this summer (I asked the boys for suggestions, too)
Visit Sonic every now and then for treats in the evening
Make pickles
Eat on the patio more often (powerwash it first!)
Get blinds hung in the den
Get to the pool twice weekly
Go to the library weekly
Get Bubbie ready for summer camp
Help Scout find a summer job
Look into driver's ed for Bubbie
Learn to make donuts and soft pretzel bread
Meet up with bestie Carol for an afternoon
Paint the kitchen chairs
Remove the wallpaper in there and paint, too
Take boys and The Girl to visit their grandmother
Eat lunch out once a week
Find a couch for Firstborn
Re-plant grass bare patches in the backyard
Plan a vacay for the end of the summer
Get a new computer and camera
Look into getting a new car
Read more often
It's not a long list and I will add to it as we go along, I'm sure!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mealplan Monday #115 and Summer reads

Searching for stuff for Firstborn's apartment netted me a few things for my own abode:
 A pretty basket. silk tie for hubby, a hole punch for Bubbie, a full package of incense, and two novels to add to my stash.  I think I spent about $4 on these items.  It was the same day I found that pretty lamp and shade.  I'm getting pickier about what I haul home from the thrift stores - it has to be something I can put to use fairly soon.
Monday - Clean out the freezer (leftovers?)
Tuesday - Chicken Cacciatore, sketti, peas
Wednesday - Jamaiican Rice and beans, salad
Thursday - Baked Mexican Tilapia - Garlic Green Beans
Friday - Chicken Sausage Skillet, rolls, salad
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Cafe Rio Chicken tacos, guacamole, beans
I'm all about the library as a great resource for reads, but I love to take my time with paperbacks.  Plus, I like to pass them on to the "library" we have at work, or to my mother.  Looks like I have some evening reading time to catch up on...
My plan is to finish this stack long before Summer ends!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thank you's

Since the time my kids were little I have impressed upon them that they need to write thank you's. Thanking someone over the phone is great.   E-mailing is nice.  Texting, much less so.  Forgetting is unforgiveable.  And to give me some excuse like  "I don't write letters"?  That's just code for poor manners.
 If there is one skill you should have in your professional skill set, it's writing a letter.  Businesses lose money from poor etiquette.  Social and professional contacts can be lost.  It's a poor reflection on your upbringing, intellect, and social skill not to say thank you for gifts received. (which is why my gift-giving list at Christmas has shrunk)  Sorry, but it's true.  You don't get a pass just because you think mail is antiquated.
It's not all that hard and costs you a stamp, a small notecard, an envelope.  The worth of the gift justifies it.  So, here's the rubric I gave to Scout when he acted like he'd never heard of writing a thank you (and by the way, that's false):

Dear ______________,
     Thank you for the ________________________.  I had a wonderful graduation and am looking forward to college in the Fall.  I really appreciate that you thought of me!



Manners.  Not really all that complicated.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pretty new lamp for less than $20!

Remember this guy?  He still comes around when there are grilled burgers to be had...
 Firstborn moved into a different apartment recently.  One that might be a little shabbier, but easier on his budget.  So, I am determined to help him feel comfy there.  Two of the main things he needs are lighting and a microwave.  We bought the micro for him as payment for working on Hubby's car.  And the lamp I got a great deal on by doing a little thrift shopping.
 I bought the base at Savers for $13 - brushed nickel and in mint condition!  Then across the street at another thrift shop I found a pristine shade - $6.  All I needed was a harp and finial.
 I  had these at home, just needed to spiff them up a little to match.
 I found some silver spray paint in the garage and got to it.
 This finial is brass and goes to another lamp I still own, so he needs to hang on to it a while!  I will try to find him one that more closely matches his new lamp, but in the meantime:
It's a fairly basic lamp that will "go with" most of what he already owns.
Next up I want to help him find a small loveseat and some light-blocking curtains.  So, more thrift shopping is in my future this summer!


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