Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Useful bling for my desk

I happened upon these small stemless wineglasses at Target.  Fifty-some odd cents!  And I had a project in mind that, for once, did not involve drinking more wine.
I use pencils all the time.  I'm very old school when it comes to making out lists and writing in my planner.  And to have a pretty pencil cup on my desk is something I've been needing for awhile.  I bought a gold paint pen and got to work.
I can't make perfect circles, but as it turns out, I like the free form swirly circles in a wave pattern even more!
 Random pattern, some solid spots, different sizes, some unwinding...
One of these days I will also paint my desk.  It's showing it's age.  I was thinking of painting the top in ORB and just leaving the rest of it dark brown wood.  I haven't decided on that yet.  But I do love having my pencils and pens in a pretty cup right where I need them.

Friday, September 25, 2015

5 thing Friday - breakfast, vet, Fall decor, Coke, thankful times ahead

While trying to be more mindful of eating breakfast on my days off, here's what I enjoyed one quiet morning:
Sloppy fried eggs with a slice of cheese on toast, and coffee. A fabulous way to start the day.  I had to stop chugging the protein shakes.  I just don't think 190 calories helps my brain function well enough until lunchtime...
I took Sugar to the vet yesterday, where they tried to do a hard sell on cardiac work-up, liver enzyme tests, thyroid labs, and supportive liver meds.  No, no, no, and no.  I only brought her in to get a quick check-up and be weighed.  I spent $40 I did not budget for said cat so I am done with all that.  I will feed and care for her, but nothing more heroic is going to be done.  Plus, she was traumatized and shed about half her fur into my car.
Trying to make feel guilty over it is futile.  I'm just going to continue trying to fatten her up and let her live her natural life.  End of story.
I love the combo of blue and orange - a fresher take on Fall colors.  It took me most of an afternoon, but I set out a lot of our Fall stuff and dusted and cleaned the front rooms of the house.  Plus, I hauled the coffee table out of the garage and cleaned it up. I spent about $6, and that was on a charger for said coffee table.  Let the nesting begin!
 The Girl sent me proof she thinks about me from time to time.  Can't say I'm thrilled she's back on the soda habit, but yay for sharing with mom...
Come on Fall!  I'll be thankful for cooler temps and family times and holidays without knee trouble.  I promise to be more thankful and loving, too.  Hopefully, my summer of grouchy is coming to a close...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Spiced Caramel Pear Butter

Recently, my mother was in a near panic because someone gave her more pears than she knew what to do with.  Guess who got to take some home?
Along with a bag of sugar I had brought her, because she decided she couldn't use all of the pears.  These aren't 'for eating' pears.  I really have no idea what variety they are.  They are hard as rocks with leathery peel and not particularly sweet.  I'm not convinced they would ever soften up - really, you could use them as weapons theyr'e so hard!  But I had an idea for how to cook them.
I peeled them and cut them into chunks.  Labor intensive, I was warned by my mother.  Then put them in my large crock pot with a couple cups of sugar, some pumpkin pie spice, and a stick of butter. 
 I turned it on low and let it go about 11 hours. 
I don't have a picture of what they looked like after that long - but the house smelled lovely.  I let them cool, then used an immersion blender right in the crock.  Then I ladled it all into big jars for storage in the fridge.  It is delish on hot biscuits or waffles!
The little 'bits' of white you can see is butter.  It melts when you pour it over a hot thing.  YUM.  We've yet to try it on ice cream or pound cake, but I bet it's wonderful.  I continue to be amazed at the power of my crockpot!

Shared with:
Cozy Little House

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gifts from afar

Not to be overly dramatic, but The Girl may as well live on the other side of the moon.  Waco was a 1 1/2 hour stroll down IH35.  But Houston is a hateful 3 hour trek down 290 and I10.  She declined to meet us here which is about halfway, but we can plan that again for the future.  She had subversive plans to get a dog as a birthday gift to herself.  And I had subversive cross stitch to give her:
I'm having a lot of fun with that book, though I kept running into trouble trying to design my own. (much ripping out of mistakes!)  I stitched a little sign that may be exactly what she needs to hear, considering the stressful time she's had lately.  I found a pretty frame at JoAnn's with a white mat, rubbed a little glue stick on the back of the mat to lay it on the fabric (my design was almost too big!), trimmed the fabric off around it*...
...and there you have it, ready to frame.  Yes, I realize it looks like I wasted a lot of fabric.  But truly, the fabric was 25 cents at a thrift store and the scraps will be used to cross stitch bookmarks or small signs for magnets and such.  Starching and ironing the reverse of the fabric helped me get it neat looking and centered in the mat.
 Seriously, girl.  Settle down.
I like how it came out - just the right size for the top of her dresser..  I added a note to the back reminding her to breathe deeply and try to reason through all of the crises she's sure to encounter in the adult world.
But, because I also wanted her to have something to remember her 24th birthday by, we bought her this pretty from James Avery.  Everything got boxed up with some Cashew Crispix Mix, and some Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  
A lot of love from afar, AKA Home.
 It feels weird to "mail" a birthday gift to one of my kids - I never really imagined there would come a day when I wouldn't see each one of them in person on their day.  But just because she's far, doesn't mean I can't keep her near, in my heart...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy Belated 24th birthday, Girlie!

 There probably won't ever be a post of mine with old pre-digital photos that aren't great quality - if I weren't so lazy I would scan the negative in instead of trying to take a pic of the pic...oh well...that's OK, because I cherish all those oldies but goodies, and I only see the joy and the smiles.

The Girl turned 24 on Saturday.
I wish we could have visited her but she is living her Big Girl life in Houston, on her own terms, and with her own plans...however a gift* is on it's way to her and she has a rain check for birthday cake next time we see her.  It's weird when your kids get so big that they leave home and their birthdays belong to them, not you.  I'm not sure I like it, but as Hubby says:  "It is what it is".  

*will post pics soon of a fun thing I stitched!

Friday, September 11, 2015

5 thing Friday - hardworking Hubby, Bubbie, Pablo, relaxation, weekends

Hubby works all day, then comes home some evenings and works more.  I feel guilty about that - I have him do a lot of things when I know he would rather eat dinner and lay on the couch.  Here he is, going over new hire benefits with The Girl:
Advising her and helping her make good choices.
He also helps my favorite band kid by being on Pit Crew - loading and unloading those heavy band instruments on game nights.  Again, after working all day.  Then he works the next day.  He likes to say:  "I keep telling you you're lucky to have me."  I know.
Speaking of that, here he is - my favorite band kid.  (:
Pablo was rear-ended a couple of weeks ago.   I really don't have anything more to add, except that the is being repaired, and The Girl is driving the biggest pick-up truck the rental place had.  We will survive all of this drama, and pretty soon, she will be all settled in to Adulthood.  Tomorrow she turns 24!
Meditation and hypnosis are helping me stay calm and sleep well, despite all of the change and upheaval happening around me.  I'm not going to say I don't have those days where I don't cope well...I've been listening to this guy.  I think he has a fabulous, calm and soothing voice.  I highly recommend it. The more I listen to it, the more benefit I get.
Months ago I wrote this message on one of the boards at work - "Weekend X-Ray...not just here 'cause we're pretty!"  Someone sent me a screen shot of it because it made them smile.  It's not an easy trade off to give up your weekends so you can get days off during the week.  And even though my kids are older, I still enjoy being there, so I guess I will stay a pretty weekend tech for a while longer....

No, I didn't forget it was Sept. 11th -  I will never forget that day...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One word Wednesday #35


*I should have titled this *misspellin'*

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sugar Cream Pie

Hubby and I watched a show where they went around to a bunch of places famous for their pies.  By the end of it we were drooling.  And I was determined to get a recipe for Sugar Cream Pie.  Never heard of it before!  After googling a few recipes I tried my hand at one:
It was incredible.  Tasted exactly like cinnamon vanilla velvet cream.  And would have been thicker had I not used a deep dish pie pan - but that's what I grabbed to bake it in.
(I barely got that piece cut before the entire thing disappeared.)
 So here is the recipe I used, with very minor changes:

Sugar Cream Pie
1 refrigerated pie crust
2 c. heavy whipping cream
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T butter, cut into tiny pieces
1/2 t, vanilla extract
1/8 t. cinnamon

Place a large cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven and let it heat up.  Unroll the crust and place it in a 9 inch pie dish; crimp the edges and prick bottom of crust with fork. Whisk the whipping cream, white sugar, flour, and vanilla in a bowl til it's smooth, then pour into the crust.  Cut the butter into the brown sugar*, then sprinkle it over the top.  Immediately place in oven on cookie sheet.  After 10 minutes, reduce oven to 350 and bake 50-55 minutes more.  Let cool for a couple hours.  Chill leftovers.
*Next time I will use a "dry-er" type of brown sugar so the topping will be less likely to sink - I want that creme brulee- style crust on top!
It left the house smelling faintly of Christmas, and had me dreaming of the holidays.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Freezer Meals Lucky #13

The latest edition of freezer meals weren't exactly frugal.  But in the fall, I am all about comfort and good dinners and a break from takeout and beans.  So, enjoy these exceptional photos of about an hour's worth of freezer meal prep (and clean up) after a busy day at work and about an hour and a half of back to school grocery shopping.  HEB was a mad house...
Crock Pot Ranch Chops
I used 5 thick cut pork chops, coated in a packet of dry Ranch dressing mix, put them in a big freezer ziploc and dotted with 1 stick of butter cut into cubes.  To be cooked on low, 6-8 hours.

Italian Spinach Chicken
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
2 c. Italian tomato sauce
3/4 bag of frozen chopped spinach
To cook 6 hours on low, then add 8 oz. cubed cream cheese and cook 45 min. more.  Serve on noodles or rice.

I also made Tuscan Turkey, which is not pictured, but very delicious!
2 lbs. bone-in turkey breast
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pkg. sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 each olive oil and red wine
1/2 t. each: garlic and onion powder, oregano, basil
Crock it on low, 6 hours.  Serve with linguini.

Ranch BBQ Chicken
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c. each Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.  Cook on low 6 hours.

Crock Pot Beef Tips
2 lbs. stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkt brown gravy mix
1 beef bullion cube
1 c. wter
1 small onion, chopped
**I forgot to buy the gravy for this so I subbed ranch dressing mix - notice how we love that.  I also added another chopped onion for a total of two.  I ain't scared.**

Brown Sugar Chicken
I put 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the gallon zip loc and add:
1 c .brown sugar
1/4 c. OJ or Sprite
2/3 c. vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T soy sauce
1 t. black ground pepper
To be cooked on low 6 hours and serve with ramen noodles or rice.

Easy BBQ Pork Roast
I put a pork roast in a gallon ziploc and added 1 c. worchestershire sauce, 1 c. brown sugar, and 2 T. pork rub.  I will cook on low for 8 hours, then shred and drain off extra fat.  I'm thinking we will eat this as sandwiches on a football game night.

I also made Taco Joes, and breakfast tacos for Bubbie for band practice mornings.  Even so, my freezer was still in very good shape.  I'm thinking of buying some freezer bins at Container Store to make it easier to pull part of the collection out and choose a dinner for the crock.  I'm eyeballing these:

They look easy to clean and I like the built-in handle.  


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