Friday, April 28, 2017

Work to do

On Sunday, Hubby and I headed out to breakfast followed by a visit to Highlands for some R&R.  But we ended up getting some chores done, too.  Just like in your backyard at home, the grasses grow up, obscuring the landscape and the paths.  So Hubby did some trimming around the barn and over to where we have a firepit and porch swing.  We also dismantled an old campfire circle of rather large stones that was directly under the power lines, then raked up the chunks of charred wood.  Nature will reclaim that small area, and those rocks we will use in landscaping some day.
 Bluebonnets are waning and other wildflowers and other grasses are taking over.  It's on our list of things to do to catalog the plants up there, figuring out what different things we have.  We need to clear out some of the cedar that is encroaching on the oaks, burn up some wood.
Mabel loves her new home.
We didn't see any critters around, but evidence points to mice having a party in the barn.  Plus, there is scat all over the place - bobcats? Raccoons? Deer for sure. And we know there are coyotes up there.  We also made a to do list for next time we visit:  bring mouse traps, the extra BBQ grill, install a shower stall, get another lawn mower, find the screen for Mabel, install filter on water spigot in pump house, put tile on the pump house floor.
We also "raked" the drive with a magnet tool to pick up nails and other small metal debris.  Each time we visit, we find something we hadn't see before: the tires are in clumps all around the place. So we pick up a little trash each time we visit.  This time we got two trash bags full of various types of trash and metal.  We will likely have to rent a dumpster to load up with big stuff each fall.  It's going to be a process...
Then we took a nature walk to admire the place, sat in the swing and got some sun, then headed to a couple of wineries. 
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday, I say.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A whole new plan

{more beauty from my favorite photographer!}
It's been since September that I've updated my plan to organize my days - mostly I did that so I could balance caring for my family with caring for myself.  It worked well when I followed it.  But like every plan out there, you have to remind yourself about it daily.  And when real life happens, things can get thrown off kilter.
But not to worry - my change in work schedule has me coming up with it up to a whole 'nother  plan entirely.  And though it may seem silly, I think it will help me feel less stressed about how the week is divided up.  In any case, I'm going to give it a good shot!
Monday - buy groceries, do errands, light housekeeping
Tuesday - Laundry, sheets
Wednesday - Clean all floors and bathrooms, have lunch with Hubby
Thursday - Ironing, work in yard
Friday - desk work, bills
On all of those days I can also work from a master list of things I want to accomplish.  What I'm trying to get away from is getting OCD about cleaning;  hence everything having it's assigned day.  So I'm not striving to fill up every hour off work with chores.  I don't want to feel tired right when I get to work.  So:
Up at 7
7:30 - 11:30 - daily chores
11:30 - eat lunch, prep dinner
12- 1:30 - read or nap
1:30 - get ready for work
2:20 - leave house for 3 p.m. clock-in
11:45 Home again!
I still feel a little nervous about the change.  And Hubby admits he feels like he will hardly see me.  But I think once we get into the new schedule I think that we will find that we have more large chunks of time to spend together.  I'm sure it will seem strange at first because I've been on a weekend schedule for 18 years.  So old habits will have to change!  But in the long run, I feel like it will all work out.  Or rather, that I will make it work out!  That's what I am going to repeat to myself, like a mantra, every day...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Menus #17

I think I will post a pic from my favorite photographer on Mondays now.  They make me feel happy!

Monday - Turkey and muenster on sourdough, chips
Tuesday - Mississippi Pot Roast crock pot, mashed, green beans
Wednesday - Greek Chicken Salad Bowls
Thursday - Spaghetti and Meatsauce from the freezer
Friday - Chicken Taco Soup crock pot
{Saturday and Sunday TBD - this is going to be a work in progress since some weekends we will be out of town, others I am on call...}
For the Greek Chicken Salad I am going to chop some romaine and add tomatoes, black olives, sliced cucumber, feta, and some grilled chicken with Greek seasoning.  I will assemble the salads and have them in the fridge, ready to eat!

Friday, April 21, 2017

5 thing Friday - downtime, bluebonnets, foot care, fingernails, dinner plans

My 5 thing list this week is "old news" judging by the pictures.  Just things that are still on my radar, I guess...
Hubby and I enjoyed a day off together at Highlands.  We took in the view from Torr Na Lochs with a glass of petite syrah, then enjoyed BBQ from our favorite hole-in-the-wall joint in Burnet, soaked up some sun, picked some bluebonnets, and headed back home.
The bluebonnets are every where!  Though this might be the last of them, no need to fret -  there are others that will show up!  In fact, there were a lot of tiny yellow ones scattered about, and the cacti were about to bloom as well.
I've been saying all week that I'm going to find a place to get a pedicure.  And I really meant to, but then I think about how many pedi's I could actually do myself for the cost of ONE at a salon, then I don't.  I stopped by Walgreen's and spent around $30 on the supplies to give myself several of them:  foot soak, a file, foot lotion.  And my toesies look pretty good!
I've been keeping my fingernails polished as well.  They look a million times better and go a long way to making me feel prettier.  It's so great to have them again.  I rub lotion into them several times a day now, too.
Years ago I had a pretty platter that I used to write messages to my peeps on - I thought it was quirky and fun.  I have no idea what happened to that platter, but knowing me, I purged it.  I had a smaller one, though, and I am going to be using it to post dinner instructions for the menfolk.  The instructions will be short and sweet.  Hubby is already on board with it! I don't want to just stop cooking dinner for my family - I actually enjoy doing that.   It's going to be simpler, but I think it will work out just fine!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday menus #16, and tax relief

 For the past couple of years we've OWED taxes.  It really stinks.  All our deductions are growing up...and only one of them managed to get a college degree so far.  So, credits are hard to come by.  And every year, Hubby puts it off as long as humanly possible.  And our dining table suffers for it:
 We managed to shave $1500 off what we thought we owed, so that's a plus.  And as per The Girl's advice, we will have a CPA do the taxes next year!
Wednesday - Quiche, zucchini, bacon
Thursday - Sliced ham, Mom's Macaroni Salad, Vanilla Wafer Cake
Friday - Mexican Chicken, salad
Saturday - Prom Night - Mom and Dad out
Sunday - Freezer meal of some sort
For a tax relief afternoon, Hubby and I took ourselves to lunch out and a winery at the end of last week.  He got a new pipe.  I got a bottle of plum wine.  And we split a delightful merlot.
Next week, it's official:  I am on the evening shift at work.  I have reservations about it, sure.  But I am determined to make a go of it.  After all, it hasn't been shiggles on Saturday - Tuesday for a long time.  And having weekends free with my peeps will be a great trade off.  So, the weekly menus will go back to Monday through Sunday since I will most likely shop on Monday.  And I have a whole new plan for that, too!

Monday - sandwich night
Tuesday - Crock pot beef
Wednesday - salad/fridge meal
Thursday - oven/skillet meal (I prep, the menfolk cook it)
Friday - Crock pot chicken or pork
Saturday - Hubby grills
Sunday - Mom cooks (family meal)

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 17, 2017

What the week holds, and the eyes have it

Last week, Hubby and I braved stormy weather to get him to his eye surgery for cataract removal.  Just one eye.  The eye doc thinks this eye got a cataract as a result of an injury - Hubby remembers being poked in the eye with a stick (literally) on a scout campout.
He was actually cool and calm for his procedure.  No dripping sweat.  No loud and/or borderline obnoxious joking.  {Well, maybe a little}  And he tolerated the entire thing really well.
 And afterwards he got his choice of lunch - a beefy cheesey Schlotzsky and iced tea!
And all is well on this Monday after Easter - vision is clear and healing is still happening.
This week we file and pay the taxes (BOO), Hubby has a follow up with the eye doc, I see the dentist for three chipped teeth (BOO AGAIN), I have two meetings to attend at work on my off days (MORE BOO), and I get off work early on Saturday to help Bubbie with prom logistics. So maybe we'll get a date night, too!  It's zooming by fast - Spring, Bubbie's senior year, and my remaining time on the weekend shift.  I'm ready for change!
What does your week look like?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

 About every other Easter, I work.  That's what happens when you're on the weekend shift, after all!  And this year is no different from all those Easters I worked:  I get home around 8, we eat, we visit a little bit, we all crash for the day.  I doubt that my peeps will go to church.  I doubt they will all wake up early and eat breakfast together.  I assume they will be lost in their electronic worlds while I'm not home, because there will be no one to guilt them into not doing so.  And whether the house is decorated and Easter-y head to toe, they won't notice.  (Well, maybe The Girl would.)  But I have stopped stressing Easter since my kids were small.  Life is too short!
If there are fresh flowers on the table, or that the tablecloth is ironed?  They don't care.  Will they go ga-ga over the menu I slaved over?  No - because I'm not going to slave over that any more than I did the table.  And Easter dinner is usually pretty good - they've come to expect ham, a couple of sides, and a dessert.  I have a simple dinner planned and they will get it into the oven about an hour before I get home.  And we will all sit down together for at least an hour.
For my non-fussy table this year I pulled out a spare vase, some extra silk flowers from my stash, some pretty napkins I had purchased at IKEA, the wineglasses from the china cabinet, and the clear plates we always use for holidays.  Everyone also got a chocolate bunny at their place.  And I called it done.  Then I got to work on my long list of things to finish up for the week so Hubby and I could spend today, Good Friday, at Highlands, not stressing life.  When I get home from work on Saturday I will make a pie, prep the ham and sides, set out instructions for the salad. 
     So, Happy Easter to you and yours!  I hope you have a lovely relaxing weekend, doing exactly what you want to do, and none of that other stuff!  {i.e., stressing, over-thinking, and making a big deal out of little things...unless that's what you want to do...}  Because the focus of Easter, as Christmas, shouldn't be about all that stuff.  Right?

And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him.  For He departed, and behold, He is here.  ~St Augustine

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday menus #15 and casual senior pics

One day last week I helped Scout take casual senior pics of his brother.  We headed over to the greenbelt in our neighborhood - it was quiet and peaceful, and the weather was perfect.
I was there to assist with the reflector, not that Scout couldn't have done it without me.  It was just fun to hang out with them - they get along very well.  We were there for about an hour.  The greenbelt is so pretty this time of year.  Hard to see, but there were tiny yellow flowers in the big expanses of grass.
 Bubbie was a cooperative and willing subject for big bro.
Wednesday - Spagetti and meat sauce, salad
Thursday - Freezer meals for the boys - Mom and Dad out
Friday - Lazy Daisy Turkey Meatballs, rice, broccoli
Saturday - Dad grills

Sunday - Easter Menu:
Sliced Ham with Honey Glaze
Arkansas Green Beans
Buttery Carrots
Monday - Tilapia with crunchy crumbs, zucchini
Tuesday - Pork Chops, leftover Easter dinner sides, salad
 Bubbie has become a super handsome guy, if I do say so myself.
Now to get him ready for prom...

Monday, April 10, 2017

What the week holds and flowers in my kitchen

On my Friday post I showed a pic of these clean and pretty canning jars all lined up and ready for some blooms. 
 Well, I moseyed over to Trader Joe's and bought daffodils and irises, and HEB to get button mums.
 And all was well.
Until a day or two after I took these pics and the daffodils just straight up died.  I can't think of a reason that would have happened - I had great success with them in the past.  So, yeah.  A waste of $3.  They never even opened.
However, the irises got is what they looked like just a couple of days after I put them in the window:
Irises remind me of my childhood home in Lubbock.  We had them growing in our flower beds both in front and back yards.  I love them so much that they were also in my wedding bouquet.  This exact color!
 And you can't beat button mums for staying power.  As of Sunday night, they are still going strong!  Maybe when I go grocery shopping tomorrow, I will grab another $4 bunch of something from HEB.
It was a pretty little tableau, even with the daffodil issues!  This week is a booger - I am on call Monday and Tuesday, Hubby has his eye surgery on Tuesday morning and a follow up appointment that I get him to on Wednesday. {so please send good vibes out that I will not get called in on Tuesday evening} Thursday I have a lunch meeting from 12-1:30, then Hubby and I are headed out to Highlands for some R&R.  We plan on stopping to eat dinner, then enjoying wine and a campfire, listening to the coyotes!  Whooooo....and hopefully I will get to see our hill covered in bluebonnets before they are all gone!  The Girl comes in on Friday and we will likely have a family dinner at home, hanging out and relaxing.  Then I work all weekend so Easter duties will fall on my peeps and we will all eat at 8 p.m. on Sunday.  I have a list of To Do's to work on, too.  
It's gonna go by in a blur!  
What does your week look like?

Friday, April 7, 2017

5 thing Friday - stitchin, soles, cake, flower plans, nostalgia

I finished up a little stitchin' sussie I was doing for Bubbie 
 Never Doubt an Eagle Scout
It turned out to be a small piece, but big enough to mount on a wooden plaque and hang about his mirror in his room.  We will celebrate this milestone in a big way - soon.
In the above pic is the removable sole from my fav work shoes, next to a new one. I don't know why it took me so long to replace them, but I am glad I finally did.  It makes a world of difference in how my feet feel after 12 hours.  These are my go-to shoes for work, they have saved my feet from ruin! 
I bought one of those small DH cake mixes that comes  with a frosting mix packet and a small pan.  It was good, but seems pretty pricey, considering you also provide the butter and egg.  But chocolate cake is never wrong. 
On someone's blog, or maybe Pinterest?, I saw canning jars painted, then distressed, filled with flowers.  I'm not about to paint my jars (I use them often), but I can borrow them for flowers for a while. Off to Trader Joe's I go to see if they still sell small bunches of daffodils.
When my kids were small, I used film to capture their sweet smiles.  I didn't have a fancy camera; in fact, I didn't get a digital camera or decent cell phone for several years.  Now that we have a nifty fax/scanner, I can scan in some of my favorite photos.  It used to be that going through old photo albums made me feel nostalgic in a sad way.  But nowadays, I look back at these pics and smile.  My peeps were, and are, so beautiful!  Seeing these old pics brings me much joy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday menus #14 and Texas forever

Texas is my forever home.  Doesn't really matter what exact area of the state I am in - as long as it's not the coast.  The coast, I do not care for.  Maybe it's the weather {hot and sticky}, or the experiences [mostly unhappy}.  Either way, I have been happier in Central Texas than I ever was in the Pandhandle or at the coast.  The Panhandle is a mostly sad memories thing...  And since I have lived in Austin for 30 plus years, let's just call it my forever heart home!
I wouldn't consider myself a country girl by any stretch of the imagination, but wide open spaces make my heart happy.  And meadows or ranchland.  Or hill country.  And bluebonnets.
 You don't really want to go rolling around in them... they're most likely full of fire ants...
Wednesday - One Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta, salad
Thursday - Homestyle baked beans with mesquite smoked brisket sausage, zucchini
Friday - Pizza Meatloaf, mini baked red potatoes, peas and carrots
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Turkey Breast in crockpot, masheds, freezer veggie
Monday - Beef taco Rio Salads
Tuesday - Pork Roast Quesadillas, guacacmole
Dessert this week:  Berry Crunch Squares
 This is the bar at Saddlehorn, looking into the tank room.  I sat and had a tasting, and bought a couple of bottles to take home, then I went out on to the patio to decompress on a Friday afternoon...
 And this is the view from the north patio, right... left.  Big open spaces, so much sky...what a view.  I sat sipping my Cab and listening to the breezes, and feeling the warmth from an early Spring.  
And loving every minute of it. 


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