Friday, July 29, 2016

5 thing Friday - apetizers, scrubs, Gourdough's, seniors, cars

Summer Happy Hours at home are a thing - cheaper and less stressful than rushing to get someplace on time in the heat and traffic of Austin on a Friday.  No thanks. 
Plus, you can pick up a nice wine at the grocery store to serve with your cream cheese and fig jam, summer sausage, and mini Club crackers. Also, look at my pretty Talavera-style serving plate!  $8 at HEB.
A friend at work cleaned out her scrubs closet and passed some on to another friend.  THAT friend gave me the ones she turned down.  Then I went through THAT pile and found about 7 to keep!  Bonanza!  I'm pretty well set for scrubs now as the first friend also gave me two complete solid sets a few weeks ago.
I don't mind second-hand a bit.  The rest of the stack went to Goodwill along with a bunch of stuff in the giveaway pile in the garage.  I feel like our house will eventually burst from all of the stuff we own - it's too much.  I have to do it bit by bit; otherwise Hubby panics.
 Bubbie and I visited Gourdough's  on Wednesday as our last lunch out before band camp.
The food was good, but not so good I'd drive across Austin in the rain to pluck down $10 for a BLT on a donut again. 
 The creamy corn was wonderful, though.
 As was the Dirty Bird - lemon pepper chicken breast with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and red peppers.
For dessert we had Salty Balls - cream cheese icing and salted caramel butter sauce on donut balls with chopped peanuts.  They arrived warm in a cute cast iron pot.  YUM.
I got the proofs back from Bubbie's senior portrait sitting, so it's time to update my Wall of Seniors in the bedroom. (note:  I disagree that you shouldn't have picture of your family or kids in the bedroom.  The bedroom is my happy place to read and stitch - why wouldn't I want to be surrounded by images of the people I love?)  I found another frame to match the others and gave all four of them a fresh coat of black spray paint.  In a couple of weeks my grouping will be complete - four kids in senior pics, four kids all the way through high school.  I can hardly believe it!
I had hoped that Bubbie would have his license and car by now, but the infrastructure and wheels of progress at Camp Rustown are moving along so slooowly.  Hopefully, it will get resolved soon - The Girl is driving home this weekend and she and Scout are discussing her selling the Accord to him.  That way, Bubbie will drive the Baja.  And all six of us will have wheels. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

On the road with Mabel - Palo Duro Canyon

Last month Hubby and I took Mabel (the T@B trailer) on an epic adventure through west Texas and northern New Mexico.  I have about a billion pics from the trip, but here are just a few:
We slowly made our way north from Austin.  Hours later, you could tell we were getting into west Texas because WIND FARMS.
 Now, all of these pics are through the passenger window going 75 mph, so...
 ...and also, we were on a two lane highway, so we weren't about to stop and admire the scenery!
However, on the way we did stop in Post and eat a most delicious cheeseburger and onion rings at Holly's.  I found them simply by googling places to eat near Post or Slaton - Holly's got great reviews.  I didn't think to take a pic of my cheeseburger before I scarfed it down - sorry - so please enjoy the view from our table.  Ha!
Bye, Holly's!
Some of the best places we've ever eaten at on the road have been "hole in the wall" joints in small towns. It's especially nice if you see locals hanging out there - they know what's good!  Best get back on the road.  Driving through Lubbock, we were on the outskirts, really, and didn't see much that I remember from my childhood.  UNTIL...we stopped for gas and I found these:
I remember these fondly from my childhood.  Next time we go up this way, I will stock up!  This one was destined for Scout, but Hubby and I shared a smallish one.
 The view through the outskirts of Lubbock in one photo.
Getting close to our destination: Palo Duro Canyon!
 We got to the park around  3 or 4, I think.  Storms clouds are gathering but we were enjoying the breezes.
Palo Duro is the second largest canyon system in the US.  So beautiful, and there weren't a billion other people.
I remember coming here as a child of about 4  with my parents, and three of my siblings, to camp.  It is a beautiful place.  (read about it here) You could tell so even from our black and white photos of the 60's!  Thank you, President Roosevelt.
I get a little nervous with Hubby's driving sometimes.  Never as much as when we are close to rocky canyon walls on one side and shear cliffs on the other.
The speck in the middle of the photo is where we are headed - the area where we will park Mabel for the night.

Our campsite - so pretty!  We parked Mabel, then headed out to a local winery.  A big storm blew through while we were at the winery, then slacked off, then started up again the minute we got back.
We enjoyed our Lime Shrimp Lettuce Wraps and some wine while the rain came down.  Up early tomorrow, headed for Angel Fire!

Monday, July 25, 2016

What the week holds: a mug for Bubbie

I got another freebie from the on-line photo storage site I use.  {not gonna name them, because last time I did they wanted me to link back to their site.  This blog is not monetized and I'm keeping it that way.  Blogging without obligation} However, I do appreciate that they give freebies out a lot, and I do occasionally order non-freebie stuff!  Everyone here is a big coffee and hot tea drinker.  Bubbie included.  So this go round, he got a collage mug with a smattering of photos related to Philmont.

I think he will love it filled with coffee on school mornings come Fall...
This week I am paying vehicle registration on three autos ($!), Bubbie starts band camp, and I am accompanying Hubby on a business trip to San Antonio for a couple nights.  We are going to visit a new winery in Driftwood and enjoy dinner on the Riverwalk.  Then I work all weekend and BLINK, July is over.  What does your week look like?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Another fig season come and gone...

Although my Charlie Brown fig tree did so much better this year with all the rain we had, it still struggled this past two weeks with scant rain and lots of sunny days.  Too much sun.  Like face of the sun scorching.
 I got about two colanders worth of figs in all before the birds and squirrels descended upon it.  I think this variety is originally from Syria - a honey fig.
 I boiled down the fruit, then added some pectin, sugar, water, and sliced limes.
 The result was more like preserves than jam because it was so chunky!  Really delish with almond butter and thick bread...YUM.  I let the jars self-seal by inversion, then stored them in the fridge.
On a sedate English muffin and cream cheese it was also divine!  Two quart jars and one small pint is about all the jam we get for now, and I have the rest of the crop to deal with, too.  Should I freeze them for winter?  I am going to continue to water my poor fig tree and keep it alive either way.  It gives a lot to the backyard in the way of beauty, even if it is struggling.  Some day it will be amazingly big!
Little Fig Tree, you can do it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lime Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Hubby and I enjoy us a bottle of wine and something nice to eat, just the two of us.  Since we aren't feeding four other people when we go out in Mabel, we can fix things we love to eat - like shrimp!
I found a recipe for Shrimp Lettuce Wraps that were super easy to make in advance and pack in Mabel's fridge.  Once we were ready to eat, we just spooned the filling into lettuce leaves and poured the wine.  Easy peasey.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
3 T fresh lime juice
3 T olive oil, divided
2 T soy sauce, divided
3 t grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I used smallish ones)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, diced
romaine lettuce leaves
Combine lime juice, 2 T oil, 1 T soy sauce, ginger and garlic.  Add the shrimp and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.  In a skillet heat the rest of the oil over medium high heat.  Add bell pepper and green onions and cook 3 minutes.  Add shrimp with marinade and cook 3 minutes.  Stir in 1 T soy sauce.  Chill.  Serve in lettuce leaves.

I bought some cute plastic Talavera-design plates at HEB at the beginning of summer. 
We enjoyed our shrimp lettuce wraps with some cheese cubes, wine from Bar Z, and our battery-operated candle, while the rain came down at Palo Duro Canyon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

What the week holds: Project lists

It's no sense me getting worked up about all of the things I want to do around the house if I'm not willing to do them.  They're not high on Hubby's list of things to care about, but I feel like if I am here all day, three days a week, surely I can get started on them?  If I hit a rough patch, then I can ask for his help, or God forbid, a professional.
 The kitchen window seat, sans blind!
 {notice I still have not painted the kitchen chairs} Hubby and I come from a long line of DIYers.  He was an electrician and handyman in college.  I can sew, paint, and have a fairly green thumb..  Between the two us us we have done quite a bit of work around our home, from adding solar fabric to the west windows, replacing the vinyl bathroom floors, building a BBQ patio, replacing major appliances, installing laminate through half the house, to painting the exterior and all walls inside!  But it's always the big projects (er, expensive ones) that give me stage fright!  Like ordering blinds for the kitchen.
I have left the wallpaper alone in here until I figure out what color to paint the walls, and whether to hire someone to add texture first.  I had also wanted to add bamboo shades in here, just like in the den.  But for the past few months, I have left the shades pulled all the way up up in the kitchen, and you know what?  I think I like the window just as it is.  There are trees back there.  We have solar screens.  And there is pleasing natural light.
After I took down the nasty filthy cellular shades, I scrubbed the walls, windows, and window seat.  Then I made myself a note to clean the outside of the window and screens next week.  The $600 I save from not hanging blinds can be put to better use for now.
This week is the last full week before band camp.  I'm on call Monday and Tuesday, taking Bubbie for a haircut and senior pictures (!) on Wednesday, and working on getting our lawn sprinkler functioning and the timer set.  It's a beast to deal with, but we have not a smidgeon of rain in the forecast.  
What does your week look like?


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