Monday, July 31, 2017

Mealplan Monday #153

Monday - Roast Beef party Sammies with chips and horsey sauce, then
Court of Honor at 7 p.m.!!
Tuesday - Crockpot Stuffed Peppers, skillet potatoes
Wednesday - Taco Salads with fritos and catalina dressing
Thursday - Pasta with Homemade meatballs and marinara, freezer veggie
Friday - Honey Soy Chicken Thighs, veggie fried rice, broccoli
Saturday - TBD
Sunday - Roast Pork, squash casserole, honey carrots

Friday, July 28, 2017

5 thing Friday - fridge, lunch, A/C, pergola, Garrison's

Last week was an expensive booger and ended with a day of A/C replacement, stress at work, and an empty fridge:
(Oh look -  we won't starve.  We have condiments)
Once the A/C guys were here I really couldn't leave the house.  So I got some cleaning done around the house, including the fridge - cleaned and wiped all of the shelves, tossed old expired stuff, and thawed some stuff to make this gourmet lunch:
That would be ground chicken breast and bacon burgers with BBQ sauce and cheddar on freezer hot dog buns with sauteed onions.  It was delightful and frugal!  Then I made a monster grocery list for the next morning.
 Unlike getting the A/C replaced, which was not frugal, but necessary.
(those are coils, coated with 24 years of grime)
This unit was original to the house.  Never been serviced.  Ran for hours.  And made the most God-awful noise starting up.
 Pretty much on its deathbed.  (look at the rust!)  Hopefully we will also say goodbye to out of control electric bills in the summer.  It already feels so good in this house with much lower humidity.  We promise to treat the new one better...
The pergola, it is finished.  Hubby and I went up to Highlands on Saturday, spent the night, then got up at the crack of dawn to finish it up.
Along the way, we visited a bourbon distillery in Hye, Texas and admired their firepit, washers pits, rustic rocking chairs, and picnic tables.  The people there were super friendly and knew lots about bourbon.  And the wine on the patio was honor system.  A fun place to visit - I'm sure we will head back in the Fall to go on their "hay-less" hayride tour of the distillery.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mealplan Monday #152

I spy...three, maybe four wild turkeys...

Monday - Pulled Pork Sammies, chips
Tuesday - Roast Beef Bowls (freezer leftovers!)
Wednesday - BLT Basalmic Chicken Avocado Salads
Thursday - Hamburger Helper, veggie (Bubbie cooks)
Friday - Chicken Tacos with all the fixings
Saturday and Sunday - TBD tho I want to try this bean dip

Friday, July 21, 2017

A pergola for Highlands

We planned on adding a pergola feature to Highlands someday, but since the pergola we wanted went on clearance that someday was Sunday.  We may or may not leave the screen on the top, but for sure some tiny white lights will go around it.  Maybe solar ones.  And it may also get some vines planted near the bases.  We might put a couple of chairs under it, and maybe a small patio table.  Nothing as fancy as the pic below!
Off to Highlands we went to get started on the project.  Disclaimer: I did try to talk Hubby into waiting a week so that we could work in the very early morning, but the box was large, weighed 250 pounds, and would have been a pain to remove from the pick-up bed. And we had a volunteer to help.
Teddy and The Girl!
We unloaded all of the parts from the box in the back of the truck and lay them out in order of the numbered stickers on each.  It was a little like building IKEA furniture...
 They were covered with plastic, but under that sun?  It was like touching a fire poker, so you had to wear garden gloves.
And there was zero shade right here to work under.  {Which is another reason a shady place to sit at the top of the hill will be nice.}
Here is where it will sit.  May not be its permanent home, but it will take four of us to move once we get it assembled, so it will be here a long time in what will be our future backyard.
 Four support posts built.
 We drank a LOT of water and iced tea, and sprayed ourselves with sunscreen.  It had to be 100 degrees on that hill in full sun!
 We got about this far and called it an afternoon.
 All that's left to do is another couple of  slats across the top, add the screen, and anchor the whole thing to the ground from the bases.  So maybe tomorrow night Hubby and I will head up there so we can get that done early Sunday morning.
It goes without saying that we were pooped when we were done - even Teddy was pretty over it.  The heat can really take it out of you, so its a good idea to stop when you know your limit.  We drove to Sonic, got a treat, then headed home.  One more thing crossed off our list of things to do, and I'm thinking we need to take a break on those kinds of things until the weather cools!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Court of Honor prep

On Monday the 31st, Bubbie will have his Eagle Court of Honor.
 So this is the current state of my dining table:
 As of today, there are a handful of invites to send - after 11 years of being in scouting, Bubbie has quite a few people he wants to share it with.  And after 20 years of being scout parents, so do we.
I've done a lot of prep on it, but I still have loads to do.  I still need to: create a 'brag board" and iron a tablecloth or two, assemble the rest of the photos in that red photo album, figure out a way to set out all the Raingutter Regatta and Pinewood Derby vehicles, locate all of his kerchiefs and slides, put all of the certificates in page protectors...
There are cupcakes and cookies to pick up from the bakery and decorate, "bug juice" to make, a coffee urn to pull down from the top of the pantry, and a uniform or two to iron...The countdown to COH continues and we are almost there!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mealplan Monday #151

Monday - Mom's Choice sammie in fridge, chips
Tuesday - Leftover BBQ beef with mashed potatoes, veggie (Heat and Eat plates)
Wednesday - Fruited Chicken Salad on romaine, brownie bites
Thursday - Taco Pasta Skillet, corn
Friday - Vietnamese Roast Chicken crockpot, rice, peas
Saturday and Sunday TBA, but one of those will be freezer clean out!

Friday, July 14, 2017

5 thing Friday - rings, sunsets, watermelon, mother, coins

A few weeks ago I had my wedding rings resized.  The place that originally sold them to us quoted me a random huge price and acted like they didn't want to fool with it.  I went to another jeweler who took the time to examine my ring and give me a quote.  They tightened a loose stone, sized it up (a whole size!) and cleaned it.  For about $100 less than the other place quoted me. 
It was like getting new rings!  And he said he'd clean it for free for life.
Sunset at Highlands, looking back towards the barn.  We have been spending more time out there lately.  It's much to hot to do any big projects, though.  So mainly we are enjoying our swing, local wineries, cooking outside, giant Jenga...
Since it's mid-summer we are eating watermelon!  The best way to enjoy watermelon, in my opinion is to cut it into manageable chunks and store in gallon ziploc bags in your cooler or fridge.  Then grab and go.
We visited my mother and helped her with a few small chores here and there.  Made a run to the recycling center with a pickup bed full of recycles.  Took her to eat chicken fried steak.  We three were all exhausted after the heat and humidity of working outside.  And it never seems like I make a dent in the never-ending list of things she needs help with.
While I was cleaning out her garage I found an old toothbrush cup with assorted coins from her travels.  They are covered in filth and God knows how long they've been in the garage, but she presented them to Hubby so I will give them a cleaning and put them into a jar.  Maybe someday Hubby and I will be world travelers, too...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Easy Potsticker Stir Fry

I made an easy stir fry for my peeps that got good reviews.  I used pre-packaged potstickers and jarred sauce, and the whole thing took 15 minutes to fix, tops.  Next time I will make a bigger batch!

Easy Potsticker Stir Fry
1 bag Trader Joe's potstickers
About 2 c. cut up fresh veggies (mine had asparagus, mushrooms, and red onion)
1 jar Kikkoman stir fry sauce (whatever flavor you like!)

I cooked up the potstickers according to the bag directions and set them aside while I sauteed my veggies.
My skillet seems almost not big enough!  You could do whatever veggies your heart desires.  Mine decided asparagus since they have been in season, but I can imagine making this with butternut squash, broccoli, red and green peppers, green onions...yum.  I feel hungry thinking of the possibilities.
When they were just right (crisp-tender) I added in the jar of sauce and let it simmer a minute or so to heat through.  Then I turned off the heat and tossed in the potstickers, stirring them to coat with with sauce.  So easy.  And not a smidge of it leftover!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mealplan Monday #150

Highlands at sunset

Monday - "Build your own beef taco" night (Bubbie's request)
Tuesday - BBQ Beef on buns (crockpot)
Wednesday - Jerk Caesar Chicken Salads
Thursday - Penne and Meatballs, veggie (freezer meal)
Friday - Brown sugar and plum glazed pork chops, masheds, veggie
Saturday and Sunday - TBA

Friday, July 7, 2017

Giant Jenga DIY

About three weeks ago, I posted about giant Jenga - seems like all the rage now at several wineries and a brewery or two.  Simple fun, perfect for summer!  We decided to make a set for Highlands.
The above set was at Twisted X.  I counted the blocks, found the wood at Home Depot, and headed over to have it cut while I did some milling around the store.  There are lots of tutorials posted on Pinterest and such - basically I ended up with 39 blocks of 2x4 that were 10.5 inches long apiece.
The first two cuts were free, and after that there was a small charge.  Worth it, I say, for not having to haul out the table saw in hot summer heat!
I have a couple of laundry baskets in the back of my car that I use to keep groceries from rolling around.  I just piled the blocks into those for the trip home.
 Then Hubby got to work sanding the edges.
It took him a while, but he also sanded off the printing on each one - we wanted a smooth and clear surface for people to doodle on!
 Smooth boards also mean the blocks will slide against each other better.
 And no one will get splinters!
 I bought one of those large clear storage boxes for them to live in, and I ordered a set of multi-color Sharpies for us to graffiti our blocks with.
 The Girl and Scout played the first game over the 4th of July weekend.
 Watch out, Teddy!
I took this pic just before the stack came tumbling down!  I see many more fun times at Highlands with our Jenga set.  Now Hubby wants to make giant dice and dominoes!


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