Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Weekend re-cap: Brewtorium, Celis, Highlands, STW, Wedding Oak, Stoneledge

{I realize that the title of this post makes it look like all we do is drink on the weekend - trust me...hard work was accomplished!}
Last Friday I took the day off to see my mother in Brenham and help her around the house.  I worry about her being able to take care of some basic housekeeping issues.  After a day of cleaning and three hours on the road I was ready to RELAX.
 
 {he actually had a good time...}
Hubby and I ended up at Brewtorium for apps and a brew.
 A few card games may have been played, and he may have won all of them...and then we stopped by Celis on the way home to eat roasted spinach queso dip and enjoy some oatmeal stout.  I have no idea why I didn't get a pic of that - it was glorious.
We left Austin around 10, enjoyed a breakfast at Storm's, and headed to Highlands to cut down another thicket and get the previous wood ready to burn.  I have no pics of the "after" of this weekend's project - the skies were super dark and cloudy.  We worked on it for about three hours, then picked up lunch to enjoy out on a picnic table at STW.
Back at Highlands we spent the rest of the afternoon burning brush from the previous weekend.  Side note: where these bluebonnets are thriving was once a giant burn area!  Wildflowers are amazing.
And I tried to get decent bluebonnet pics, but it was so dreary out.  Kept threatening to rain, but never did.
 So my bluebonnet pics will have to wait for sunnier days.  Plus, there are loads of them that haven't come up yet.
 We ended the day with a campfire, and made fondue.  Our old firepit might be about ready to be retired...
The weather the next day was fabulous - a high near 84 in San Saba where we were headed to pick up wine at Wedding Oak.  We stopped at Young's for some 'cue, and intended to stay awhile and listen to live music, as well as visit Old Man Scary Cellars next door.
But it was so dang hot on that patio!  So Hubby did some google-ing and found a new winery in Lometa just about 30 minutes away, and we decided to do some exploring
 
 Shady trees, friendly people, delightful wine, and...
 
...amazing views.  We sat up there on a bluff for at least an hour and a half, watching cows at a nearby farm, listening to birds, feeling the breezes, and just generally relaxing.  And before we knew it, it was time to head home and get started on Sunday dinner.  And laundry.  Always laundry.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Mealplan Monday #238


Monday - Italian Chicken Thighs, eggplant ragout, steamed and smashed red potatoes with olive oil and garlic
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes (freezer) over whole wheat buns, papaya chunks
Wednesday - Lemon Garlic Scallops with angel hair pasta, zucchini
Thursday - Lean Beef Patty with onions and peppers, collards
Friday - Grilled Chicken Breast on romaine with pears, fennel, walnuts, fruit vinaigrette
Saturday - Cast Iron Salmon, roasted radishes with Green Goddess dip
Sunday - Ham, Easy 123 Mac and Cheese, sweet potatoes



Friday, March 22, 2019

5 thing Friday - fruit, oatmeal, lunch, bluebonnets, rebate

Hubby and I have been enjoying fruit lately as our sweet snack.  My favorite are the dates and the blood oranges from Imperfect Produce.  But really, I have been enjoying all kinds of fruit, including those seedless mandarins (Cuties) and juicy grapes.  So good!
 I am finding that my sugar cravings are getting weaker and I have managed to stay our of the gift shop at work.  No popcorn, no candy bars.  Winning.
I was buying the high protein instant oatmeal until I realized I could control the sugar even more so if I just made my own.  I mix whole oats, some nuts, maybe a little coconut or raisins or craisins, a dab of almond butter, maybe some All Bran buds, a teaspoon of honey...add water, nuke for 2.5 minutes while I get dressed for work.  As it sits, it thickens, and I add a splash of half and half.  I can manage oatmeal at least three days a week this way.
Lunch al fresco at Highlands on Sunday:  Trader Joe's chili lime chicken burger over romaine, with a sprinkling of mozzarella and a drizzle of Caesar dressing that I squeezed a lemon into...delightful.  Have you tried those San Pellegrino fruit sparkling waters?  We keep them in the fridge at Highlands instead of tea or soda.  They are really refreshing and so good with lunch!
The bluebonnets are taking their good sweet time making their appearance on our hill, though the highways are FULL of them.  By this weekend I expect they will have exploded - we've gotten so much rain and the sunshine and weather has been amazing.
My first "big fat rebate check" from Ebates...eh.  I'll take it.





Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finding the Deal of the Century, Mom version

Firstborn doesn't own a lot of furniture - he has an antique table and two chairs ("old stuff" to him), and he has a desk, new office chair, nightstand, and his bed.  That's pretty much it.  So when his sister bought herself a new sofa, she said she would sell him her old one for $75.  Now, granted, it was a couple years old, but she paid $500 for it, and they agreed that $75 was fair.  The only catch was: he would have to go to Houston to get it and I'm not certain it would have fit in Hubby's pick-up bed.  Waaay too much cost and hassle.  I was on a mission to find him one closer to home.
So I stopped by my favorite Salvation Army Family Store on my way to work Monday and I spied the above loveseat.  Clean, in good shape, pretty comfy...those throw pillows can go, though...
 Hang on - how much is this loveseat?  I had to do a double take:
Originally $99.99, now marked $7.49. (I love that they put an exclamation mark after NOW) I flagged down an associate to ask her if this was correct.  YES, it was.  SOLD!  I took the ticket up to the front, rounded up my sale to the nearest dollar, and with tax it was $9 even.  NINE DOLLARS.  I texted the pic to Firstborn thinking he would snub it, and we could put it in the Lounge, but no, he wanted it.  So he and Hubby picked it up last night and took it to his apartment.  
I was fairly pleased with myself!
We are trying to break him of the mindset that cheap ricketty furniture you order from Amazon or Wal-Mart and then have to put together only to have it fall apart (even if it is starter furniture) is a good idea.  
I also spied this oak cabinet which I thought would work as a TV stand, but sadly it was not long enough for the TV screen.  And now I am on another mission:  can I find a TV stand that we can stain to match his bookcase?  And a coffee table, too?  Just a quick 15 minute stop into a thrift store here and there and I will find them!



Monday, March 18, 2019

Mealplan Monday #237

Monday - Sliced Grilled Chicken Breast over romaine with sliced apple and Spicy Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Tuesday - Pintos and Ham, fresh onion, cilantro, and red bell pepper
Wednesday - Seared Tuna Steak, collard greens, baked sweet potatoes
Thursday - Healthier Stuffed Peppers, carrots
Friday - Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with shitake
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Easy Chicken Enchiladas, salad with romaine, grapefruit, and avocado




Friday, March 15, 2019

Photo gifts

The photo gifts site I order from sends me free offers from time to time.  I have been ordering here and there, putting things away for gifts and such.  Photo gifts are a nice way to give a very personal gift.  Recently I ordered a shopping bag for my mother's birthday that came out really nice - it had photos of Gus and her garden with a garden quote.  And I ordered a personalized bottle opener for some friends of ours - it will go with some beer or wine at Christmastime.  Last night I created coasters for Firstborn's apartment after perusing his FB page for pics of his beloved car:

 

And a notepad for me featuring a spunky three old from long ago:

Last Fall I ordered an inspirational notebook for Dutch that came out really nice, and some coasters for Scout that featured some of his nicest nature shots.  Both were paired with a purchased item making a fun set - coffee for Scout, printed pencils for Dutch.  The "free" coasters and notepad I ordered last night cost $19 to ship which seemed a little steep, but I guess it all averages out.  And I do love the idea of using photos to make gifts!



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Still changing...

Hubby and I are still on a mission to change our eating habits (not DIET), and we are having mixed results.  Eh.  Its a work in progress.  Most days I have oatmeal for breakfast, but check out this delightful sausage and egg combo on a cinnamon waffle:
Zero guilt.  And I even ate it at my desk!
I'm still tweaking the menus amidst much grumbling from he and Bubbie.  And here is my basic plan:
Monday - Chicken breast
Tuesday - Beans
Wednesday - Fish
Thursday - Lean beef
Friday - Chicken (either breast or thighs or ground)
Saturday - Fish
Sunday - Family Meal, so it changes
******
We are still implementing the following:  no more coffee creamer, much less coffee, no rice unless it's whole grain, no white bread, no sugar (except a small yogurt for Hubby), two eggs once a week (see above), fish twice a week for dinner and sardines or such for one lunch a week, LOADS of fresh veg and fruit. Olive oil instead of butter.  Much less cheese, leaner cuts of meat.  One hundred calorie popcorn, no chips, no candy and NO going to the gift shop for snacks at work.  I never drink sodas, so that's not a problem.  And I buy or make vinaigrette for our salads.  Most mornings I make my own oatmeal (no instant) and add bran buds, a sprinkling of walnuts and golden raisins, and a teaspoon of honey.  And I do OK at work if I remember to snack on an apple, peanut butter, carrots, almonds, or a cheese stick.  So if nothing else, losing the processed foods and all that white sugar and adding in some fiber should be doing us a world of good.  The working plan is still that we relax the rules a little on Saturdays, having beer or wine.   And with all things, changing our eating habits is on-going...




Monday, March 11, 2019

Mealplan Monday #236

Weekend goals:  drink water, water, water, and more water

Monday - Greek Spiced Chicken Breast Bites, garlic and olive oil smashed potatoes
Tuesday - 15 Bean Soup with turkey leg (I will serve with chopped onion)
Wednesday - Pesto Salmon, yellow squash, maybe some quinoa or barley
Thursday - Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry with veggie pot stickers
Friday - Crockpot Chicken Stew (with carrot, potato, and turnip)
Saturday - YOYO, but Mom and Dad will have fish of some kind
Sunday - Smothered BBQ Pork Chop, Mac and Cheese for my peeps!, green beans

*Not sure about Hubby's progress, but I actually managed to lose a little over 2 pounds...



Friday, March 8, 2019

Sweet wall planter

Its been eerily quiet around the house this week - we are down to 3 people at Camp Rustown after Firstborn moved into his new place.  I know he never intended to stay this long - 16 months but who is counting - and he was excited and ready to get into his own place.  When we walked in I thought "wow - this is just like the first apartment Hubby and I had in 1985!"  Same layout and all.  It was freshly painted and the carpets looked clean and he has his own washer and dryer which is a BIG bonus for him as he doesn't own those and he works 6 days out of 7.  So laundry was always a challenge.  We told him, as we always do, that he is welcome to come by anytime to see us or to have some leftovers for lunch, and he will always have a standing invitation to Sunday dinner.  It remains to be seen how often we will see him.  I want everything to work out for him and for him to be happy where he is, but I will always worry for him, even when he is an old man...
The small gold and white clock that was hanging in his room, just above two small photo ledges, bit the dust.  And since I couldn't find another small wall clock I liked, I picked out a fun magnetic/wall planter at Target for $6, a succulent for 99 cents, and added some floral foam, moss, and silk eucalyptus that I already had.  Its pretty cute and someday it may live on my fridge, but for now seeing it takes a little edge off the sad I feel when I walk into that empty room... 
And about that I say:  if you're going to leave your mama and be on your own as an adult, then GO and DO THE THING.  Because when you come back and leave again, I have to get used to you being gone all over again.  And that's the hardest thing for the mama.  
For real.





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Weekend re-cap: Teddy, Mother, STW, Westcave, pizzas, and an emptier nest.

The days leading up to The Girl's arrival seemed to crawl by...Teddy was enjoying life but I knew he would be so much happier when she came to get him!  Its been a long two months and even though he is a good house guest, I was ready to be done with temporary dog ownership.
I even gave him a bath so he would smell pretty for his mama! 
Talking to my mother on the phone last week, I felt alarmed to hear something in her voice - a trembling or frailty. It made me panic a little.  When was the last time I saw her?  I decided to take Friday off and run up there and check on her.
As it happens, it was also her birthday.  She had a list of things for us (me) to do.  I fed her lunch and took her to the bank and grocery store.  We cleaned out the hen house and moved some berry vines.  Her gait is very jerky and halting. She doesn't pay attention to other people around her and I can imagine the same happens when she drives.  Her home seems to be even dirtier and you cannot reason with her about things once she has an idea set in her mind - like hiring cleaning help.  This is not to her benefit.
 It makes me worry.
On Saturday we were not about to sit at home in the dreary weather and wait for The Girl to get home...we had a pick-up to attend!  First we had to go check on Highlands and make sure the window to the pumphouse was closed as Burnet was expecting a hard freeze. (it wasn't closed - my bad) We ate a small turkey sammie/no chips from Schlotzsky's in lieu of something fried, so I call that a win.   Then we swung by STW for the Priceps Pacis release.  And finally, we jetted off to Westcave Cellars!
Kentucky Divide was playing, a firepit was going, and we enjoyed some small bites along with a great tannat.  I could have sat out there under the oaks for HOURS.
We ended up at home around 6 and made Uuni pizzas for everyone, then enjoyed the firepit and some downtime with The Girl. Bubbie's girlfriend was also there, but Scout and Dutch couldn't make it.  Firstborn was almost completely moved out, so he spent his first night in his new apartment.  I couldn't get anyone to stay up past ten at the firepit with me, so I was grudgingly the last to go to bed.
 
The next day, we helped Firstborn get some more things moved, then ate at a favorite seafood place for lunch (Hubby ate very healthy.  Me, not so much)  When we got home I spent an hour or so dusting in here and cleaning the carpets and what you see above is how I left it.  I'm not sure how will we use this space...stay tuned.  We ate some crockpot turkey veggie soup, played some cards, and called it a day.  Hopefully this weekend coming up will not be as busy...





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