Monday, December 30, 2019

Less Empty Nest Menu #19

With The Girl and Bubbie here, I have had to adapt meals a bit.  She and I both need low salt.  Bubbie is super picky after cooking on his own at school.  Hubby is still trying to drop some weight.  Plus, I'm trying to be frugal...
Monday - Crockpot roast, baked sweet potato, broccoli {put Christmas scrubs up}
Tuesday - Turkey and veggie stir fry with chicken potstickers
Wednesday - Ham Balls, cabbage, black eyed peas {Mom off}
Thursday - Pot of beans with ham bone, cornbread {take down Christmas tree}
Friday - Rotisserie chicken or turkey, (freezer) dressing, green beans {Mom on-call}
Saturday - Leftovers or wing it {roast a turkey Firstborn brought us}
Sunday - Salmon, brussel sprouts {Mom on call, The Girl and Bubbie leave}


Gina

Friday, December 27, 2019

5 thing Friday - weather, wine, charcuterie, Christmas, changes

The weather here has been super pretty.
My backyard may not be magazine-worthy, but I do enjoy sitting out there when its peaceful...
One day out there, a racket started up that lasted about 10 minutes.  It was this squirrel, who then perched where he/she could stare me down.  Couldn't be time for nest building or baby squirrels so I don't know what that was about.
German Christmas wine I found at Trader Joe's.  Not as delish as the Christmas wine I get at WVW,   and so much sweeter.  But I mixed it with an inexpensive Tempranillo, some bourbon-soaked orange slices with cloves and cinnamon sticks, and it was nice to sip out by the firepit.
I was super proud of my new charcuterie board find - it was on clearance from $16 at HEB.  On the wide end it is engraved "blessings" which I guess was a Thanksgiving sentiment so it was $1.50!
One dollar fifty is just my speed - I can't even make one for that.  I loaded it up with cheese rolled in prosciutto, fruit, nuts, and crackers for Christmas Eve.  We also had Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip with French bread chunks,  a cookie tray, and some assorted nibbles.  Since I worked until 7:30 p.m. that day, The Girl and Hubby helped get it all spread out, ready for us to snack and play card games.
Christmas was very different this year.  All of us noticed.  And though it was slow to start, we did enjoy ourselves and each other's company.  But you could tell that no one knew quite how to navigate this new thing of adult kids who come to Mom and Dad's house. 
When to ask them to show up?
Are we still doing stockings?
Do we wait for everyone to arrive to open gifts?
Did we do a good job on their gifts?
When to eat?  When to say good night? 
Hubby and I did talk about it in advance, but it was so foreign-feeling.  My guess is that it will get easier with time as our family continues changing.
We had a late lunch meal of Spiral Sliced Ham, Steakhouse Mac and Cheese, Caesar Salad, rolls, and birthday cake with ice cream for Bubbie's birthday.  A lot of wine was consumed.  And we played a few games, enjoyed the firepit, and a movie.
The Girl and Bubbie both will be with us through next weekend, then we get Teddy for 7 weeks.  And since we have nobody home but us two, it will be hard to go to Highlands for more than a day trip until she comes back to collect him.  So maybe I will get some projects done around the house.  I'm looking forward to quieter times.
And I will definitely do better planning Christmas in 2020.


Gina


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Weekend Re-cap - Brenham, Burnet, home

Last weekend was FULL.
I met my long time (40 years, she reminded me!) college friend {Carolia!}, at Royer's Alamo Kitchen in downtown Brenham, for lunch on Saturday.  The food was pretty good - for me it was fish tacos, with warm pecan pie and coffee for dessert.
 Three hours disappeared in a minute.
I stopped by my mother's house afterwards to take her some Christmas gifts and some Blueberry Crumble pie, do a little light housekeeping, and visit with her.  I think the gift she appreciates the most is the gift of my TIME and I resolve to give her more of it in the coming year.
 Back home, I opened the fudge that Carol made and it is amazing!!
She bought each of my dear ones a warm and cozy blanket which I stacked around the so-called kid's tree.  {Carol is another of those people I want to spend more time with in 2020!  We are going to work on a 40th year Girl's Trip to somewhere and do something}
Sunday saw Hubby and I in Cottonwood Shores, just outside of Marble Falls.  We had lunch at a new-to-us Mexican restaurant, then saw  "A Twisted Christmas Carol" at the local community theater. We also drove around a bit and enjoyed the beautiful weather - what a cute little community it is.  
 
We checked on Highlands, then headed back to Austin...but on the way we had to stop to admire the Christmas lights in Burnet.  The Courthouse decorations were so beautiful - people were stopping to take pics and just admire them.
The little mini-trail of lights is a 5 minute walk and very peaceful.
Before you knew it, the weekend was over.  We headed home to enjoy some Chili Lime Chicken Burgers, salad, and mac and cheese - a pantry meal that hit the spot.  And *BLINK*  its Christmas Day!  Today, my dear ones and I are having a different kind of Christmas - everyone is grown and a couple of them are making lives with partners, so Christmas looks a bit different, but we will navigate it together, just like we did so many years ago when we started our family. 
Merry Christmas, everyone!


Gina

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Week Menus

Mrs. Claus is getting some extra time off from work so 
she's COOKING!
Monday - Mediterranean Pork Chops, Italian Chopped Salad
Tuesday - Appetizers and Snackatizers, wine
Wednesday - Breakfast is Chocolate Croissant Breakfast Bake and sausages,
Lunch is Crockpot Mexican Chili with Fritos, cheese and onions, 
Dinner is Spiral Sliced Ham, Steakhouse Mac and Cheese, Caesar Salad, rolls, and BIRTHDAY CAKE! {Happy 21st Birthday, Bubbie!}
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Meatballs and Rice, broccoli
Saturday and Sunday - TBD - I will take a poll


Gina
                     

Friday, December 20, 2019

5 thing Friday - trees, decor, small town places, nails, crafting

It seems like Thanksgiving was last week, but no, it was three weeks ago and its about to be Christmas.  It has flown by!  Good thing I got the decor up when I did because I WOULD NOT have felt like it by now.  And forget me spiffing and adding to - no one has time for that this year.
The so-called kids' tree is more of the "fun" tree this year, and I am OK with that.
 The living room tree didn't get decorated like it looked in my head and I am OK with that, too.  Its done.
This year's ornament from Hubby's boss is a sweet light up snow globe from Pottery Barn.  It has one of those "magical" trees in it - the little bottle brush kind.  Other than the blue ribbon, I purchased nothing new for the tree.  Next year, I would dearly love a flocked fake pre-lit tree.  For real. One tree.  Not two.
Speaking of Christmas trees, check out the one in front of the courthouse in Burnet.  All of the light posts near the square are decorated like peppermint-striped candles.  All of it is so lovely. Maybe on Sunday we can walk through the square when the sun goes down.  The Girl will be home, so we'll see.
You can make beer kegs into reindeer!  This was in a window in Johnson City at a favorite place to eat lunch.  I love walking these small town squares, eating at the restaurants and poking around the shops!
 
 I've been trying to look cute on weekends, starting with painting my nails. 
Its a hit or miss thingWhatcha think?
I bought some plastic ornaments for super cheap at Micheal's and filled one with corks and jingle bells, the other with fake snow, crochet snowflakes, and some faux greenery.  I had everything but the ornaments already, so it was thrifty, too.  They will be a sweet addition to some gifts and about the last craft I will have time for before Chirstmas gets here.  {But I should do it again next year, since it was so fun and they turned out cute!}
Ho, Ho, Ho.


Gina

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A fun way to end the wine trail

Hubby and I reached the limit of how much driving we were willing to do for the wine trail passport we bought.  Plus, we were getting a little burned out on tastings.  {How do people make it to all 48 wineries?!  Insane.} So by late afternoon on Saturday, we decided we were done with it and headed to Blanco to visit Esperanza.
There's just something about the cozy tasting room and wonderful wines in small town Texas.  We love this place! (the birdcage below has 128K corks and weighs over 500 pounds!)  When you sit in here, its like visiting a friend's house.
 Sitting in here sipping our wine and chatting with the owner...
 ...she offered a small bowl of snacks which we happily munched.  Then she told us a parade was going to happen at 6 p.m. in the town square.  Let's go!  But not before we joined her wine club and now we are "founding members"!
 Blanco is such a sweet little town at Christmastime.
 There were lights strung everywhere, kids running around laughing...
 ...the weather was cool and the crowds weren't such that you couldn't enjoy ALL of it.  Kind of like Austin used to be - before it got "discovered" by everyone.
 We had a great time watching the parade.  I think it lasted a whole 15 minutes.
We waved at all of the floats like we live here or something, ha!  Most of my photos came out blurry but I think Hubby video'd it.
We ate roasted corn and walked all over the square, and used up every bit of energy we had left..then went home and had chili and tortilla chips before bed.  Wine trail over, Christmas kicking into high gear...just a few more days and we'll have a whole new year!


Gina

Monday, December 16, 2019

Less Empty Nest Menu #17

Wherein Bubbie is home from college for Winter Break...
I spy a tiny bird who was pecking at his reflection in a shiny ornament

Monday - BBQ Beans with sliced Elgin Sausage (I feel like we will never get to the end of that package), corn muffins
Tuesday - Honey Garlic Chicken, rice, peas and carrots {Hubby to Highlands for 3 days}
Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, chips, pickles, etc. {well-woman appointment, then work for me}
Thursday - Ranch BBQ Chicken (equal parts BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing over thighs and baked), sweet potatoes, broccoli
Friday - Greek Salads with Turkey {start Christmas baking and treats making}
Saturday and Sunday - kitchen in sleep mode! Heat leftovers, scramble an egg, make a grilled cheese, etc. {clean up guest room, meet up with a college friend in Brenham, take Christmas to my mother}


Gina

Friday, December 13, 2019

5 thing Friday - snack plans, weather, stocking, eating out, pick-ups

I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping, but its time to focus on making treats!  This year, I opted out of the cookie baking which, for me makes my kitchen a giant mess, and go with gussied up snacks.  I get a lot of recipes from the Plain Chicken blog - this year I am doing Cheesy Firecrackers, Oreo Muddy Buddies, and a White Chocolate Candy Cane Chex Mix.  My peeps at work are getting a treats tray with some cute ornaments
 The weather here is ridiculously wonderful.
Sunny and cool days, colder nights, so much sunshine!  At a recent winery I saw people gathering around this fence trying to "pet" the Longhorns.  They aren't pets, people!  Does nicer weather mean you forget such things? Those horns will POKE you. 
I made LA a stocking.  Its so tacky!!  I will fill it much the same as I fill the others - candy, lip balm, a lottery ticket, a small giftie, an orange and an apple.  Firstborn says she has never had one, so this one needs to be good!
Hubby and I enjoy eating out, but we need to cut waaay back on the budget for such as December is a spendy month.  Lunch at a cheapie Mexican restaurant on our recent travels was a good compromise.  We left $12 poorer but it was so good.
The wine trail was in full swing this last weekend.  We greatly enjoyed visiting this one as there was live music, the Spring-like weather, and delish wine.  I poured one glass for both of us, stashed the bottle in my purse, and dragged Hubby away to the next winery.  I am looking forward to not getting pulled and pushed for the month of January...


Gina

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Wednesday plan

At some point I will take pics and document little touches of Christmas all over the house.  I haven't really had time to re-visit any of it since just after Thanksgiving.  And I didn't tweak anything after I put it all up.  There just never seems to be enough time just to putsey!
 I took that garland from the Thanksgiving table and placed it on the mantel with some little basket-looking stars in wire garland from the Dollar Spot at Target ($3).  In the evenings, they give a sweet glow to the den.  I kept it simple, but I might add a few cinnamon pinecones.   Most everything else I used around the house was something I already had.
Today is a rare day - I work 3 - 11:30 p.m. - so I have plans to get some things done around the house before lunch and a nap:

*Go to Michael's for a craft thing I need
*Pick up filler groceries and mini Christmas lights from HEB
*Return some items to Old Navy
*Put up the clean laundry
*Finish putting up Christmas lights out front, mini's on the back patio
*Gather up the stuff for the Holiday Potluck Luncheon at work
*Make Cranberry Bars and Andes Mint Brownies for my work peeps
*Figure out where to meet up with Carol next weekend

If I stop sitting here catching up on email, I bet I can make progress...


Gina

Monday, December 9, 2019

Empty Nest Menu #16

I feel you, duck and goat.  I feel you.
Monday - Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie*
Tuesday - Tilapia and veggies**, garlic toast
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo, green beans {working the evening shift tonight}
Thursday - Crockpot Pork Roast, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli {baking Christmas cookies for my co-workers, set up crock to cook Chicken Rio overnight}
Friday - Chicken Rio Taco Salads {Secret Santa luncheon at work}
Saturday - OUT {finish the Christmas Affair Wine Trail!}
Sunday - Leftover Chili meat and pintos from last week {dinner at home with Bubbie!} 
*Layered in a dish: stuffing, turkey, gravy, topped with sweet potatoes SO GOOD
**Any sauced veggie in an oiled oven proof dish, top with two fillets, season it up, bake


Gina


Friday, December 6, 2019

Christmas cards selfies

 Getting a group shot on Thanksgiving Day, to use in our Christmas cards, was a bust.  So I took it upon myself to wrangle Hubby into some selfies for our own pics for our own cards.
{Please note - we aren't exactly well-practiced at this!}
 After all, our peeps are grown.
 Though we will forever be "The Cannary Family" there are {realistically} only two of us here at Camp Rustown.  And those grown peeps can decide whether or not to send their own cards.
Two of them will likely be wed in the coming year.  And they can chose to take up that tradition or not.  As The Girl put it "that's something your generation does, Mom". 
Fair enough.
One of these made it to the Christmas card - the others are just plain fun.  And full circle we have come, back to our first Christmas card with just the two of us.  
And it doesn't make me feel sad at all!


Gina

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

We came, we saw, we gave thanks

Thanksgiving has come and gone.
We snacked, then we feasted. We each said what we were thankful for, and it made our hearts full.
There were eight of us!
We enjoyed adult bevvies out by the firepit.
We caught up on news, rekindled memories, and just relaxed.
We didn't get him to change out of his PJ pants, but we got Bubbie to sit out there with us for hours.
We got to know LA a little better and it made us glad to see Firstborn so happy.
We braved the crowds and the fog to cut a tree (but this will be different for sure next year)
And we enjoyed time spent with all of our peeps, furry or not. 
{and Christmas is 3 weeks away - can it be so?} 


Gina

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