Friday, March 31, 2017

Nailing it - and a resolution update...

Back in February of this year I decided it was time to act on one of my New Year's resolutions and get my nails attended to.  They had become very dry, were peeling and breaking sometimes, down past the quick!  Since I use my nails as tools, it was high time to address the issue -I mean, my goodness, this had been going on since before last May...
 I know it might be hard to see in this photo, but take my word for it, they were looking rough.  I was using every over-the-counter thing I could think of, and was having zero success.
But 2 months into using the topical nail solution the derm prescribed and I feel like they might well recover!  In fact, in celebration, I painted them, just in time to visit my mother today (: 
No, they aren't long - yet.  But they will get where I want them to be.  And that's one item I can cross of my list!  It's almost April and I feel good about what I have been working on.  And the bonus to that is that I am taking better care of my hair, too, and starting to focus a teensy bit more on ME and what it takes to feel better.
What about you?  Are you still working on New Year's resolutions?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday menus #13, and when you work too many hours...

When you work too many hours at work, picking up extra call and helping out while we are short-staffed, there's always a downside.  Sure, it's great to earn OT, especially since Hubby will soon be having eye surgery and I have loads of projects I would like to fund.  But the downside is this:  homelife tends to suffer.
Mom tends to be grouchy, going to bed at night super early and leaving before everyone else in the morning.  Meals and lunches tend to be haphazard, or on the unusual, if not tasty, side.  (see photo) Laundry and ironing piles up.  Paying Mabel's registration tags gets forgotten.  oops.  The floors get sticky.  And the general infrastructure here suffers.  It's a good thing I am sorta organized and have my trusty lists to help right this ship when days off come back today.
Wednesday - Pan-fried Italian chicken thighs, brussel sprouts
Thursday - BBQ seasoned pork chops, pintos, Tex Mex Corn Bread
Friday - Southwestern Potato Casserole with Spam (YUM), carrots
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Mom brings home Chinese?
Monday - Creamy Bacon Pasta, salad
Tuesday - Eggs, King Cake Bubble Up

Dessert this week will be a pie of some sort...
Now, I realize that if you look at those menus you might think "Girl, those dinners look delish but not particularly healthy".  And you'd be right.  But I would just like to point out that dinner is as much about letting your family know that you love them and want them to be happy, as it is about eating healthily. Plus, thank you for putting up with my being terrible for two weeks on end.  And whatever makes people leave the table with full tummies and a smile, is all right with me!  As long as I'm not overdoing it at work this week, we're good... 

Monday, March 27, 2017

What the week holds, and hanging with Scout

If I were going to pick one of the boys to hang out with at a beautiful place on a day off, it might well be any of them.  But I love it that with Scout, the feeling is almost always mutual. So that seals the deal.
Scout is one of those people you just feel calm around. 
And he enjoys hanging out in the great outdoors admiring someone's trees and garden and just relaxing.  He never says he's bored and he just goes along to get along. Not that he doesn't have his opinions, but he is a gentle soul to be with.  It's nice.
He's not much of a wine drinker, so he tags along with us on these pick-up parties for the heck of it.  And as he told me, he just likes to hang out with us.  Sweet!
This week, I have two more nights of call, then no more of that for another two weeks.  Yay!  {Call is a double edged sword - everyone wants to get paid for it, no one wants to actually get called in!}  I have one doc appointment this week, then I'm planning on visiting my mother in Brenham on Friday.  I would love to get the front door painted, so I might do that on Thursday.  Otherwise, I am catching up on some book reading and making plans for planting the backyard as I lay on my couch!
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 24, 2017

5 thing Friday - random bits of camera, cake, crust, headshot, and cactus.

Life feels fairly random lately.  Sometimes I find myself drifting off into a mini coma while doing the simplest of things.  I blame being tired after the time change.
Sometimes I just snap a photo for no reason, really.  This one above is in the teeny tiny drive through at Torchy's.  
And this one is a mostly empty restaurant with pretty lighting on a recent lunch date with Hubby.  But mostly I have been forgetting to document life, such as it is.
I added dessert back on to the menus, but I have been pretty lazy about my follow-through.  However, I did make a lovely green Irish Cream bundt cake right before Spring Break.  It was very moist and didn't taste a thing like Irish Cream.  That stopped no one from eating it.
My freezer pie crusts have been a giant WIN.  I admit they look homemade - not magazine-pretty, but they have a nice flavor and are super handy.  It takes only a short while to thaw them out, so they are super convenient.  I can use them for savory or sweet - today I will make a sweet pie.
 Do I look tired?  I feel tired.  I would love to start back up on my walking.  It's so hard to get started on that again - I mostly just forget to add it into my day.  And I do walk a LOT at work, so it's hard to get motivated but I am trying. 
I put together a "tacky homemade" for a friend's birthday that involved this cactus and some other goodies.  Sometimes I feel like I don't get it right with gifts.  But a sweet little pot of cactus tied with burlap is a delightful thing.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday menus #12 ... on Thursday

I've been picking up some extra hours at work and my schedule has been a little hectic.  Quite the opposite of staying on track with things home and blog related, I have let myself fudge a little.  But starting Sunday, things will go back to status quo until my new work schedule (M-F evenings) begins.
And so that was a long winded way of saying: here are the Wednesday menus, on Thursday.
Wednesday - Jalapeno Chicken (HEB), yellow squash
Thursday - Salmon, asparagus, fettucine alfredo
Friday - Crispy Buttermilk Chicken Salad
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Crockpot Pork Tacos
Monday - Grilled Cheese with avocado and bacon, celery and carrot sticks
Tuesday -  Burger patties with sweet tomato glaze, okra (random freezer items)
And that's another area I am fudging in, as sometimes I have forgotten to thaw something, or start the crockpot, or was delayed grocery shopping.  It happens. Like I say, next week will be different.  And so will the menus, since I am going to follow a new formula designed to provide my peeps with dinner even on nights I work, and in turn, provide me with one, too.
{Last night was a pre-UIL concert - the last one for Bubbie.  In fact, he has ONE more concert and that is the Senior one.  The last semester of his senior year is whizzing past!}

Today is catch-up day on so many things, then I work the evening shift.  Tomorrow is my first full REAL day off after 13 days of driving into the hospital.  To say I am looking forward to that is an understatement!

Monday, March 20, 2017

What the week holds, and picking a door color

One the simplest projects at the top of my list involves painting the front door.  Years ago I gave it a new coat of varnish, but I did a sloppy job...then Hubby changed out the hardware and the previous footprint was noticeable....then, I spray painted the hardware and that was a flop...
I like our front door but I have done a shabby job of trying to pretty it up!  Time to get motivated, pick a color and get this one crossed off my list!
 I still want to hang a wreath here, so I don't want it to be brown or green.  I was thinking a blue, or even black.  I want to clean up the hardware and make it sparkle, too.
See the wooden bird in the wreath?  It was a find at Highlands.  I don't know what is was supposed to be originally, but I painted a pearly eye on it and onto the front door wreath it went.  Decor by happenstance.  This week I am pulling a lot of call, in addition to ending my 11 day streak at work.  Whew!  There is much to catch up on around the house.  On Wednesday there's a Pre-UIL concert to attend, then a wine club pick-up at Bell Springs that I hope to be able to attend on Saturday with Hubby, Firstborn, and Scout.  I know I sound like a broken record, but where do the weeks seem to go?!
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 17, 2017

The bunnies came out...

I don't know yet how much time off I will have on Easter, if any, but I am still looking forward to a nice Easter dinner with my peeps.  I decided I may as well make the house a little Springy-er.  And yes, I know it's St. Pat's day, but I'm not Irish, so...
 I pulled out some things here and there that say Spring to me, and that almost always involves yellow flowers and bunnies!
 Sometimes moss, too!
 I'm pretty much the only one at home who notices, I think!
But I love that when the house is clean and smells nice, and I see the bunnies, I know that Spring is here!  And maybe the boys do notice that the seasons are changing when the decor changes a bit, who knows...
Summer can't be far behind so we need to enjoy these cool, sunny days as long as we can!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Menus #11 and Organized Home Challenge update

Picking up again on the OHC - Weeks 9 - 11; Laundry room, laundry schedule, and cleaning schedule.  My laundry "nook" stays fairly organized.  It's so small that it has to!  I keep a basket on top of the dryer that has shirts and such to be ironed.  About once a week I pull out 5 things to iron.  That keeps the pile small. 
I also have a tension curtain rod up in here to store the extra hangers. And above that is a pants hanger with socks that have lost their mates. 
I've also streamlined the products I use: soap pods, bleach, liquid softener, and dryer sheets.  When the weather warms up to Hell on Earth, I will bust out the clothesline on the patio.  I don't really follow a schedule for laundry, I just try to stay on top of my hamper.  I let the boys do their own thing and it's WONDERFUL.  I change sheets out every week and I wash all the towels, but that's not such a big chore.
Wednesday - Crockpot Mexican Chicken, rice, black beans
Thursday - Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet (recipe soon!), salad
Friday - Papa Johns to the rescue...
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Pomegranate Beef, homemade masheds, freezer veggie
Monday - BBQ Turkeywiches, sweet potato oven fries
Tuesday - Sausage Spinach Bake (recipe soon!), carrots
As for a cleaning schedule I try to give myself time off from home chores as much as possible on Saturday through Tuesday, mostly just straightening here and there.  After work on Tuesday afternoon I grocery shop.  Kitchen gets cleaned daily - otherwise UGH.  Trash and/or recycles go out on Tuesday.  Linens get washed on Thursdays, along with floors and carpet.  Friday I give the bathrooms a once over.   For other chores I make myself a list of things I want to do/clean/organize on Wednesdays and I get to it!  Week 12 on the OHC is morning and evening routine.  Since that's about to change with my new hours at work I will just post a "plan" - I'm sure it will be a work in progress...

Monday, March 13, 2017

What the week holds, and a fun new place,

I realize the last several posts make it look like Hubby and I do nothing but drink.  But we are making up for lost time by enjoying a Happy Hour or wine pick-up party now and again, to sit and talk and relax.  That can't be wrong.  When our kids were small, we had NO ONE who would babysit for us, and being the self-sufficient types we were, we didn't really ask.  After all, we chose to be parents.  We were in it to win it.
We didn't have any money to spare for such frivolity, anyway, and parenting four children took all most of our free time.  At the end of a workday, or even a workweek, we were exhausted.  So we put all of that adult fun on hold for a great cause!  But we've been getting out these last couple of years and it's been fun.  Friday last week we discovered a teeny tiny bar very close to our regular grocery store.  Who knew?
It is cozy, has a delightful Happy Hour, and is just a few blocks from Hubby's new office.  Win, win, win!  This week is Spring Break here in Austin and so far the weather is gorgeous!  I have people actually lounging around INSIDE of the house - what is wrong with them.  Meanwhile, I have picked up extra hours at work since Hubby has eye surgery soon and we are somewhat short-staffed.  At the end of it, we have another pick-up party to attend - this one at Bell Springs.  I know...looks like we only drink, but I promise there is LOTS of other stuff in between!
What does your week look like?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Gap season mantel and banner

Between Christmas and Easter, the only decor I really put up is Valentine's Day stuff, and even that isn't every year.  And it doesn't feel too much like Spring until we actually get to Easter, so there's a seasonal gap there...not winter, not spring, just...there.
But since I still have those hooks on my mantel from last Fall, I might as well keep using them for a banner of sorts.  This one I made from scrap fabrics and seam binding tape.  So easy to put together I didn't even do a tutorial.  I tried to pick fabrics that were pretty subtle and neutral.  I think I will leave it up until the Easter stuff goes out, then I will put it back when Easter is over.
 The Command hooks are clear and not all that noticeable.
After I made a loop, I brought the end of the bias tape over to where I was sewing the loop's seam and just included it.  Then I cut the resulting big loop in half to make a tie.  It might look like it is tied on to the Command hook, but the smaller loop is actually what's on the Command hook.
I made one in bright Spring-y colors for a friend, too - I hope she finds a fun place for it!
I like little pretty touches here and there in our home - I don't think the menfolk care about it so much.  But for me, when the house is clean and smells nice and is pretty?  I'm content to stay home and be a homebody!  Pretty soon it WILL be spring and I have projects I want to get started on...
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Menus #10, and Freezer Meals #17

Next week I am working some extra hours.  So, I wanted to be sure I had things to plop into the crock pot.  I would love to try a bunch of new things, but I picked several that were sort of tried and true, and added one or two new ones.  It's been since August that I have made a batch of more than one or two meals.  So I bought groceries yesterday, then hurried home to assemble them while Scout and GF ate leftover chicken tacos at the table.  Now she knows my secret - I'm not a great cook.  More like a Cook of Opportunity!
Most of these are for the crock.
I made:
Pomegranate Beef from A Year of Slow Cooking
Shredded Pork for Tacos
Ranch BBQ Chicken
Sweet Oniony Turkey - 1/2 jar carmelized onions, 1 can cranberry jelly, one 5# turkey breast
Mexican Chicken
Pesto Chicken (skillet)
And a pork roast that used the other half of the carmelized onions along with various spices
I am careful to stack my blobs of gallon zip locs until they are frozen, then they will all go onto the same shelf.
This week we are eating:
Wednesday - Crockpot Poor Man's Stew
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - Crunchy Crumbs Fish with peppers and onions, quinoa
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Crockpot Pork Roast, baked 'fried' okra (hubby bought two bags of these recently, and this is the extra one)
Monday - Chicken Enchiladas, corn
Tuesday - Meat patties with brown gravy, mashed, peas (a fav meal of Hubbys' from college)
Dessert is a St. Patrick's Pistachio Bundt cake from The Cake Mix Doctor
I didn't make as big of a mess as I thought - admittedly, the kitchen was not neat when I started.  I managed to get the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded quickly, though.  And some wine was had...

Monday, March 6, 2017

What the week holds, and monkeying around

Late posting as often happens on Monday.  Most of the time, if I don't talk about the week in advance by typing a post on Friday, it's old news by 4 p.m. on Monday.  Sometimes it can't be helped!  Last week, The Girl's busy season at work ended on Monday, and she told us she would come into town on Wednesday afternoon for a long weekend.  That was fine by me, even though I had to miss work due to illness on Tuesday...
So after laying around in bed all day Tuesday (which wasn't all bad as Hubby brought me Schlotzsky's and I binged Netflix and cross stitchin') I cleaned up the house and shopped on Wednesday - Hubby's first day at his new job.  The rest of the week passed in a blur, and on Friday, The Girl and I picked up the quarterly shipment at Infinite Monkey and enjoyed a glass of Malbec out on their "patio".  As wineries go, this is one of the most low key ones we are members of.  But we were pleased to read on the bottle that a portion of the profits goes directly to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Great wine and a great cause.
The shipment this go-round was tempranillo, and we enjoyed a bottle of that with our Chinese stir fry at home.  I'm not sure about that particular wine pairing, but the wine was delightful.  And all too soon the week was over and a new workweek had begun...
This week Bubbie has a doc appointment at lunchtime on Wednesday so he and I get to enjoy a lunch on the run together, I have a birthday gift for a friend to finish up (more soon), and I will probably visit Brenham to take my mother her birthday gifts.  There's also a lot of Teddy left here in the form of hair, but I don't mind giving the house a top to bottom clean since next week will be a bear for me...I'm also planning some freezer meals.
What does your week look like?


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