Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Savory Sweet Cheeseball

I made a delightful cheeseball for Thanksgiving! It's only about the second one I have ever made - I guess for the longest time I thought cheeseballs were some complicated matter...but no, they are so easy!  I doubled the recipe and stored half in the freezer to take to work and that worked out great, too.  So here is what I did:

Sweet and Savory Cheeseball
2 blocks cream cheese, softened a bit at room temp
4 c. grated cheddar (use the small grating holes)
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
Small bag dried and sweetened cranberries from Trader Joe's (about a cup)
sliced almonds
 I mixed the cream cheese with the green onions on the lowest mixer setting,
 added in the dried cranberries...
 followed by the grated cheddar. 
 I hand stirred it, too, to be sure there were no big clumps of anything.
 I divided the mixture in half (froze one of the balls as is) and rolled the other half in sliced almonds, then covered it and stored in the fridge.
The next day we enjoyed it on my MIL's vintage cheeseball dish with crackers while we waited for the bird to roast and we played card games.  It was a huge hit - sweet, oniony, and crunchy with almonds.  So good!  And it struck me: you could change up this very basic recipe with any kind of mix-in's and seasonings, too.  I think another one will definitely be on the menu for Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2016

5 thing Friday - Littles, birthday fun, wineries, sussies, exhaustion

I was going to post about Thanksgiving today, but I don't have any energy to get my pics organized, and I didn't take all that many was a great day, low stress, lots of good food and some game-playing fun.  We are all laying around, most of us still asleep!
When we were making room for Firstborn to stay in The Lounge, I found this cute pic of myself when my kiddos were little.  I stuck it on my memo board above my desk.  It's a sweet reminder to me of when my peeps were smaller.  Sometimes I miss those days. You can see their individual personalities even then.  They'll always be my littles!
Sunset at Torr Na Lochs.  Last week Hubby was up at the property waiting for a dumpster to be delivered, so I met him up there and afterwards we enjoyed a bottle of wine.  Looking forward to being able to do that more often, for sure.  He spent the whole weekend loading trash, and I planned on heading back out to the property on Monday when the dumpster guy retrieved it.
A friend of mine brought me some birthday sussies on Sunday!  A sweet Christmas-y print of a small trailer (like Mabel!), a pretty bracelet,
and this candle with a sweet winter scene.  We will be putting up Christmas today and the candle will live in the front room - it smells divine.
 Another winery - this one on my birthday (Monday), Texas Hills Vineyards in Johnson City. This one has a patio that overlooks the vineyard and some very friendly owners.
The Cab Franc was pretty delightful out there.  We headed back over to the property and enjoyed a nice campfire with Scout and his girlfriend.  Hubby and I made Shrimp Alfredo then practically passed out - Hubby has been working hard to fill the dumpster up with trash we are clearing from the land.
Mabel's kitchen is small, but convenient.
Hubby has been pretty tired lately - about like how Teddy looks here, after going through the stress of moving The Girl on the day before Thanksgiving...more on that to come.  Hopefully he will get some rest the coming weekend.  Today we will visit the tree farm and put up some Christmas.  But most of us are flat out pooped so I'm sure there will also be lots of laying around, playing cards, and eating leftovers.  
Happy Day after Turkey, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2016

What the week holds, and a beautiful bouquet

On Friday I cleared off the dining table and made it pretty for Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty excited about being off ALL THIS WEEK.  As you are reading this, I am celebrating my 56th birthday by cleaning my house and getting ready to bake...I am so looking forward to a beautiful and relaxed dinner with my peeps!
Fresh flowers on the Thanksgiving table are a must for me.  I didn't want to spend a fortune and I wanted to enjoy their beauty for more than just a day, so I bought them on Friday and arranged them just before driving out to Burnet to meet Hubby.
 I spent $9 on flowers and $1.50 on napkins, then added other things to the table that we already had.
A thrift shop vase, some turkey S&P shakers I've had for 30 years, a scrap of burlap ribbon, gold chargers I bought at HEB years ago, and the fall tablecloth I love but have rarely used.  I even pulled the crystal goblets out of the china cabinet.
If anyone looks reeeeally closely, they might, just might, be able to tell the sunflowers are faux.  I wanted to add some big color, but all the sunflowers at the store looked a couple of days away from drooping.  Faux sunflowers to the rescue, and I already had those, too!
I just need to add silverware to the place settings, and pull down the clear glass dinner plates, and we are ready to go.  This week will go by fast and is full as ever...I have cleared all of the things off the calendar that can wait, but on Tuesday Bubbie and I will go get his driver's license (finally), then we will go help The Girl move into her new apartment on Wednesday, then The Girl and Teddy will drive back to Austin with us.  Friday we will cut the tree and put up Christmas around the house. Saturday I start another 40 hour week.  What does your week look like for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 18, 2016

A fun use for those eleventy billion corks...

I pulled out my huge vase of corks to use them, finally!  I had pinned several ideas of things to make with them, but nothing really jazzed me until I saw how WVW used decoration in potted plants.
I poured them into the potted plants out back - they will help keep the potting material from drying out while adding some whimsy and beauty.  I love using natural materials like cork - if they weren't real, I didn't keep them.  No plastic foam corks in here!  I'm hoping the squirrels won't find them appetizing - that's why Mr. Owl is standing guard.
 Guess I will have to start to start saving them up again for other crafts...
As chance would have it, we are enjoying happy hour at Torr Na Lochs today after we work on filling up the trash dumpster at the Burnet property.  Onward, to the weekend...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The calm before the Thanksgiving storm

On Sunday, Hubby and I enjoyed some breakfast with the in-laws, then headed out to Wimberley for the wine pick-up party at Wimberley Valley Winery.  In the food pairing room they had this beauty:
I love it!  You could tell there were tiny white lights in there, too, but they weren't turned on.  And the cork ball on the top is perfect!  I got a couple of good ideas on what to use my corks on - they had them in potted plants by the front doors.  So I'm going to add them to my large potted plants tomorrow.  Plus, we admired the wine barrels, which we are eying for a table base.
 The last couple of times we've been to this winery it was rainy.  So it was especially nice this time to sit out in their large "backyard".  Way out there by the fence is an alpaca, and they had several burros, too.  So peaceful.  And Hubby could enjoy his cigar while admiring the view with me instead of being stuck in the cigar bus.
 But the trees - gosh, I love big trees.  While we sipped we admired them,
 ..and this really cool deck - not high off the ground at all, and cut to fit within this group of oaks.  Lots of ideas here that we want to take to the Burnet property - trees, deck, picnic tables, Adirondack much to do on our "little project" out in the country.
It was so nice to sit out here, talking about everything and nothing, enjoying the calm before the holiday storm.  Which began for me today, since I had much shopping and planning to do before next week.  It makes me want to be on a regular Monday thru Friday schedule even more, just so we can enjoy these sorts of days, just the two of us.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What the week holds, and turkey plans

As of the writing of this post, I am scheduled to work Thanksgiving Day.  But I sent out an email offering to switch days with someone if they wanted a day off they might not otherwise be able to use.  We'll see how it goes...
 Meanwhile, I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week!  I feel a little more prepared as I made out a menu and grocery list.  I thoroughly cleaned out the pantry and fridge, too, so we are all set to load it back up!  ha!  Never for a moment do I not feel grateful that we are able to do so.
So here is the menu:

Turkey and dressing
Gravy, and Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
Pecan Pie
Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie
Crispix Mix for Snackin'
Wine, tea, cocoa

The day after Thanksgiving we generally put up the Christmas tree and eat BBQ.  All of my peeps will be home, and Hubby is taking extra time off, so maybe we will also go out to the Burnet property to kick around.  I would love to get my mother to visit, but she always prefers to stay home with Gus...
Thus week I'm on call, see the PT, take an ornament display craft class at Home Depot (fun!), and mail out my Thanksgiving cards.  Not too terribly busy, and other than that, I will be getting the house clean and food bought.
What does your week look like?

Friday, November 11, 2016

5 thing Friday - Senior night, gathering, Fall plans, mums, tech week.

Senior night was a few weeks ago, but I forgot to post a pic of Bubbie in his jacket.  What a great experience band has been for him!  Through friendships, discipline, and just plain fun I'm sure it made his high school years memorable.
 Hubby and I are going to miss going to the games and cheering on the band, but since Bubbie's girlfriend is a junior, maybe we will go watch her march next year.
I found this pretty gold artichoke at Tarjay.  I'm not so sure artichokes are fall-ish, but I love a touch of gold on my desk.  I've been pretty good about not buying "stuff" just for the heck of it.  But I also bought this wood slice garland:
I added some scraps of burlap and hung it with command hooks.  I'm loving these inexpensive garlands I find in the dollar section. 
The fence guys came back out to address our concerns, so I finished up the red rocks area and put all of my plants back out.  It's been rainy so that's about all I've done back there.  When it dries out a bit, I will powerwash and get the patio area ready for firepit nights. The weather this week has been very cool and nice - perfect for a firepit! I am so ready for Fall to begin in Central Texas.
I love mums and was planning on putting a couple of pots of them by the front door, but never got around to it.  So I made do with a tiny pot of them I found for about $3 at Trader Joe's.  I really need to get busy planning our Thanksgiving - I work that day, so Hubby has volunteered to cook the bird!  My helpers can do the sides easily enough. 
This week marked the 121st anniversary of Roentgen's discovery of x-rays.  We had some fun at work including getting fed, having fun activities, and giving out prizes.  It's been a loooong time since I felt like work wasn't dreadful.  Morale has been very low, staff turnover high, and a lot of us have been having a hard time of it in general.  Let's hope we are on the upswing, I still have to earn a living for a few more years, and I like what I do!

Monday, November 7, 2016

What the week holds, and a losing battle

You're not going to get any mind-blowing organizational tips in this post - just "after" photos of the garage with enough space carved out for Firstborn to store a few things as he boomerangs back to Camp Rustown for a couple of months.
 Why yes, that IS the Christmas tree and YES, it has been sitting in that exact spot since January.  This garage, full of stuff, most of it we can live without, is the bane of my existence at Camp Rustown.  Here's where that door came from...
I can either fight it or go with it.  I choose to go with it for self-preservation sake, and along the way I will sweep, organize, and stack.  Because until Hubby gets the message that we own too much "stuff", it's a losing battle to get rid of any of it. {At least while he's looking...}
Theorectically,  I could park a car in here, but what is the point since there are four vehicles coming and going, not including Mabel sitting in the drive, and the van will be back. {tho Mabel will soon be in her new digs in Burnet}  Plus, The Girl will be here now and again over the holidays.  So.  For now, my garage is a space I can only straighten, to save some of my sanity and practice my OCD skillz.
This week I hope we can take a much needed deep breath as marching season is over.  Sure, the band will play in the stands at halftime on Friday, but they will not march!  I see the retirement planning folks on Tuesday (gotta think ahead), the PT on Wednesday, I have a work meeting on Thursday to attend after breakfast at work, the game on Friday, then a pick-up partay on Sunday - just Hubby and I!  Plus, it's a special week at work and we have fun things planned.  It's shaping up to be a great week - what does your week look like?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Making plans

I got a freebie deal on some holiday cards, and since we haven't decided what to do about the Christmas cards, I made some Thanksgiving day cards.  Hubby and I have been sending out cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas since the year we married.
 I chose one of Scout's pretty Fall pics, and I added mine and Hubby's names to the front.
Then I put one of the family pics from last Fall on the back with everyone's names. (and I spy a slight typo - oh, well...) A nice compromise, I think.  After all, 3 out of the 4 "kids" are grown now.  I know eventually I will stop sending out cards with all of our names on them, for the simple reason that we don't all live under the same roof anymore!  But also because they will make their own way in this world, living independently.  Now that's done it's time for me to come up with a Thanksgiving menu and that will be tricky, as I work that day.  But I have plans to get all of my grown folk involved...because they do still all come home for the holidays!


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