Friday, February 28, 2020

5 thing Friday - plant babies, bins, tea cups, shoes, parking

I took Wednesday off to get my mother back to Brenham from Austin in the afternoon.  And since I had the morning free to do as I pleased, I worked on my plant babies.
 They got some fresh soil on the tops, a good watering, and some readjustment in the sun.
This little grouping makes me smile.  The landscape light had a broken base, but works great in my ficus tree, which really loves living here.  I bought a creeping fig to see how it would do in a pot, added some clam shells that The Girl brought home from Ireland, and set it in that antique milk crate we found at Highlands.   I'm still using my eleventy billion corks as mulch, too.
I also potted an asparagus fern, and gave my olive tree a bigger pot - both at the front door.  Since asparagus ferns like partial sun, I also planted a couple of them in big pots that were near my mother's front steps.  They will spread out a bit and look so lacy and pretty.
 I saw these stacking bins at Home Depot and thought they would be useful for the storage unit at Highlands.  We have small tools, cords and hoses, paint cans, and other bric-a-brac that these are perfect for.
I think Hubby will try to dissuade me as we are on an economy drive currently, but I am penciling them into my plans as they are only about $15 apiece.  I noticed he threw a bunch of crap in there after finishing out the barn and I for sure don't want the storage unit to look like our garage at home!
 When I pulled down all of the winter stuff around the house, I noticed these tea cups in the china cabinet and thought they would be fun with some faux ivy in them. {I guess I could have dusted the shelf...}
They are ca. 1950 from my late MIL - a gentleman and a lady.  Kind of creepy and cute all at once.  They aren't marked on the bottom so I have no idea how to look up their value.  
 I bought some fun Clark's cork wedges with money from my change jar and my Rakuten rebate check.  Plus they were on sale.  So they were $6 all told!  They are a shabby pewter leather and I love them.  Not so great with jeans, but I think they will be cute with spring dresses or skirts.
Last week was so dreary.  I took this photo of the employee parking lot, totally emptied out.  The parking situation at work was already awful so this makes it much worse.  Our parking garage will not be complete until May so it will suck to park at work for at least a  couple months longer...


Gina

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Weekend re-cap: home, 600 Degrees Pizzeria, Wedding Oak, Highlands, home again

On-call weekends are generally not exciting, and this one was no exception.  However, I did get someone to take my Sunday, so it was only halfway a bummer!
I had a long list of things to do around the house, trying to stay busy until 7 p.m.  So I started out by making my new favorite egg breakfast - peppers and eggs.  I saw this on a Cooking with Clara YouTube video.  She says they grew up poor, but they always had a garden and some chickens so they ate well.  Half of a pepper makes one egg go a long way and I get the added benefit of a serving of veggie.
 I finally took down all of the pinecones and winter decor and pulled out my bunnies and some fake ivy I bought last time I went thrifting.  I don't care is fake greenery is dated, I like it!  That one bush of ivy found its way around the house, including in my spring wreath for the front door:
I just keep recycling wreaths, changing them up a little bit and using what I already have.  Maybe I will give this one a bow.  I also spent time doing some baking, which I almost never have time for nowadays.  Plus, sweet treats don't really have a place in my new healthy eating plan.
 But I made an exception for Saturday:  Walnut Raisin Pie for dessert this weekend, Pumpkin Pecan Muffins to freeze and enjoy two at a time, and White Chocolate Peppermint cookie dough for when The Girl visits.  Bonus:  the house smelled delightful.  
 For dinner on Saturday night, we went to Georgetown and ate at 600 Degrees Pizzeria.
We sat outside at a table for two and enjoyed some beer while we waited for the pizza.  It was nippy outside, but loud and crowded inside, so we enjoyed the beer and convo.
 Our pizza did not disappoint.  Hubby likes to order it with fresh squeezed garlic on top.  YUM.  We called it at night around 10 p.m.
*****
  The next day {no on-call!} I made us breakfast featuring those aforementioned pumpkin muffins.  They turned out so good - I will have to post that recipe soon.  Its an oldie but goodie from my late SIL - they are so moist and delicious.
Around noon we headed to Burnet for our last wine club pick-up at Wedding Oak.  We have mixed feelings about dropping this wine club.  But, as I remind Hubby, we can stop in any time to visit without being wine club members.  While we were there, we had BBQ sammies from Bohemian BBQ food truck, which were very good.  After lunch we headed where else? - Highlands.
 We filled up our water buffalo, but had zero plans to do anything else there but relax.
It was a grey day, but we built a small fire in the firepit and enjoyed one of the wines we had just picked up - a Petit Verdot that was excellent.  There were LOTS of deer - 11 at one time which is unusual to see up there.  They didn't seem particularly bothered by us.  Around 7 we headed home to enjoy a grilled pork rib chop, loaded baked potato, and a salad with sliced pear - all good.  Pie might have been also enjoyed...and with that our weekend ended.  This week is a doozy, but we are halfway to our next weekend already!



Gina

Monday, February 24, 2020

Empty Nest Menu #27

Monday - BBQ Turkey Meatballs, Sour cream and onion baked potato, lemon pepper broccoli {customize my produce box}
Tuesday - Salmon Patty, stir fry bok choy, carrots, and sugar snap peas,
Wednesday - Chicken Sausages, cinnamon sweet potato, sauteed brussels sprouts {off - return Mother to Brenham from eye doc appt}
Thursday - Mexican Tilapia, skillet chard, creamy corn {Gina doc appt.}
Friday - Italian grilled Chicken Breast, summer squash with shallots {get the guest room ready for The Girl}
Saturday - Out - we are going to see Kool and The Gang! {buy paint for next week}
Sunday - Pork Rib Chop with onions, carrots with cabbage, seasoned brown rice {Happy 90th birthday to my mother!}


Gina

Friday, February 21, 2020

Spring painting plans

I've got some time off from work planned and I have plans to PAINT!
Around the holidays it started really bugging me that some of the corners of the walls were dinged and grubby-looking.  Its been years since I have touched them up and by now, the paint that I have left for that is probably not useable.
The builder painted all of the walls a French Vanilla color which I have never loved, especially against the white trim.  So there are accent walls in the house here and there, and all of the bedrooms were painted.  But I never tackled changing up all of the vanilla.
If I have to touch up walls, I may as well give them all a fresh coat of paint - something lighter and brighter!  I'm thinking a creamy white, nothing stark. I know there are as many colors of white as anything else, but I don't think it will be too difficult to pick one.  I need to get 'er done so I'm not going to overthink it.  Plus, I have plenty of supplies and such - just need the paint.
 I also plan to move artwork and such around, and maybe touch up the trim around doors and carpets.  They are fairly dinged up, too - from years of kids and the vacuum cleaner banging around.
Some of the yellow tinge comes from the light fixtures, but I can only afford to work on one project at a time and for now its paint.  {plus, bulbs are easily changed out} The Girl will be home to fetch Teddy next weekend and spend a few days R&R, and she has offered to help.  But truly, just having her keep me company will be plenty help.  I so need a break from work and I want to spiff up the house for Spring.
What about you?  Got any plans for Spring spiffin'?


Gina

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Frugal Weekend re-cap: beer, firepit, Mexican food, home

Hubby and I have a plan to spend less money on the weekends.  Which will not mean we will have less fun, just that we will try to be mindful of a budget for going and doing.  This last weekend we enjoyed dinner and a movie {The Invention of Lying} at home on Friday night.  On Saturday morning, I got a few things done: ran to one bank, paid the car notes at another bank, ordered some shoes and a printer cartridge, did a load of laundry, brushed Teddy out, and worked in the front yard for about an hour and a half.  I actually didn't mean to do a lot of "chores" but I was on a roll!  After getting cleaned up we headed to Marble Falls. 
We enjoyed a fish lunch at Captain D's, followed by the Cherry Scotch Ale release at Save the World.  Truthfully, we could have stayed there all afternoon, playing dice games and drinking beer, but we were looking for relaxation, not crowds, and the allure of the firepit at Highlands beckoned. 
I hope I never get tired of it!  We hung out until dark, then headed home to have leftover meatball soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, which were both delightful.  And I think after that we crashed!
The next day we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Tex Mex at Rosie's Tamale House.  Minutes after this plate was served it was GONE.  I've read quite a bit of negative reviews about Rosie's and granted, its not a fancy Mexican restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, but we really enjoyed it.  Afterwards, we stopped by Family Business and drank a beer out in their shady yard, listening to live music and playing cards.  Then we headed home around 5 to let Teddy out, enjoy a dinner of salmon patties, snow peas, and Thai chopped salad followed by a scoop of ice cream and some cinnamon apples I had stewing in the crockpot.  All delish.
I estimate that we spent a little less than $70 for the weekend, versus the $200 we had fallen into the habit of.  It feels more creative to live a frugal life, and I am sure that we will have no problem finding fun on the weekends!


Gina

Monday, February 17, 2020

Empty Nest Menu #26

Monday - Grilled Soyaki Chicken, kale with kimchi and shallots{customize my veggie box}
Tuesday - Italian Stuffed Peppers, mashed garlic potatoes
Wednesday - Mexican Tilapia, summer squash {I need to go get a haircut after work}
Thursday - Deli Turkey in sweet potato wraps (lettuce, tomato, avocado), Cabo Chips
Friday - (freezer) Black Bean Chili from last week, cookies as a treat! {Gina on call}
Saturday - OUT {still on call - work on taxes, filing, leftover yardwork from Sunday, groc shop}
Sunday - Salmon "Burgers", Brussels sprouts, veggie crisper clean-out {last pick-up at Wedding Oak Winery}



Gina

Friday, February 14, 2020

5 thing Friday - work, oatmeal, plant babies, parking, eyesight

The sunset view from a stairwell at work:
Working late on Tuesday was not as big of a chore as I thought it would be.  {My energy level is holding steady in my old age!}  I got everything done that I needed to do and got plenty of rest.  It wasn't ideal, but it got done. 
The Oatmeal Chronicles:  whole oats with a chopped apple or banana, some walnuts or pecans, and a sprinkling of candied ginger or baking spices.  Sometimes I go wild and add a splash of half and half!  Blerg...I do not love oatmeal, but I have to improve my cholesterol and my BP.  Still drinking coffee black.  Still eating loads of veggies and very little red meat.
That's not to say I don't falter now and again.  Onion rings are my kryptonite.  Once every couple of months won't kill me!
 I repotted my $1 poinsettia and it is still hanging on.
 You would think this window would be ideal for my indoor plant babies but they don't seem to be thriving.  Maybe some plant food would help.
 This is the view from the (rainy) parking lot at work.  Gradually, the lot is being emptied out - people are being reassigned to off-site parking in prep for building a new medical office building that will go right here.  Parking is already terrible so its about to be 1000 times worse.  Even on fair weather days it will be a pain in the neck - add to that rainy Spring weather.
The saga of mother's eye surgery continues.  This last graft seems to be healing better.  We have a follow up in a couple of weeks and she is hopeful that her eyesight will be good enough to allow her to get her driver's license renewed.  Even with good eyesight, its time we got busy on moving her closer to us so that the driving will not be as much of an issue.  I am also concerned about her living conditions (borderline filthy) and her nutrition (borderline deficient). Looks like 2020 is going to continue bringing lots of change...
OH!  Happy Valentine's Day!


Gina

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Weekend re-cap: wine, firepit, bluebonnets, and beer

Hubby and I are downsizing our wine budget - not by choice.  But we are moving forward and not feeling sad about it on the weekends.  There are a lot of other places to go and see!  We have dropped 3 of the seven wine clubs we are members of and hope that will free up the budget anyway to explore new places.  You don't have to be a wine club member to sit and relax at a winery, after all.  We can't drop two of them that are essentially new to us (so we still have 3 club memberships) and there was a pick-up to attend last weekend at one of those.
 We got a less than enthusiastic reception from one of the owners, which seemed odd to me.  But Hubby isn't one to let that deter him, and the owner's son remembered us and was very gracious.  AND, it turns out that I won on their cork-guessing contest, so we took a complimentary bottle outside to sit and relax.
Even though the skies were grey, it was pleasant to sit out in their yard listening to live music while wrapped in a Mexican blanket.  We took some cheese and crackers with us and chatted with the musician while he was on break.  He's a young guy who we've seen many times before and is very talented!
 By the time the sun broke through, it was time for us to mosey over to Highlands and check on things.
 And look what I found - baby bluebonnets!
We are still a couple of months out from the blooms, but you can see that the recent rains have made for a fertile yard.  Hopefully Scout can come come photograph them this Spring!
 While we were there, we decided to stay awhile and build a fire.  Some deer wandered through and we sat and watched them.  It was very peaceful.
 Sunset added a touch of gold to everything.
We headed home to Teddy afterwards and fixed dinner.  The next day we putseyed around the house, getting things done here and there, including solving the mysterious appearance of small black bees in the den...turns out they were some sort of wood boring bee that hitched a ride in some logs we had in the fireplace.  Mid-afternoon we grabbed a lunch and hung out at The Growler Room for a bit, playing games and relaxing.  At home we made creamed turkey and watched a movie until bedtime.  It was good to get some down time in prep for this week, which isn't going as smoothly as I imagined it would...
Life, right?


Gina

Monday, February 10, 2020

Empty Nest Menu #25

The lantana I planted near the pump house died.  So I made a cactus garden!  All free.
Monday - Crockpot Black Bean Chili, corn muffins, chopped onions and bell peppers {customize produce box}
Tuesday - Schwarma-seasoned Chicken Breast, Tomato Chickpea Salad {pick up Mother in Brenham to bring to eye doc in Austin, work late}
Wednesday - Tuna Salad on whole grain toast with sliced cucumber, chilled pan-roasted red pepper strips, and low salt kettle chips
Thursday - Mushroom Ravioli al Fredo, broccoli, streamed carrots
Friday - (freezer) Meatball Soup (add extra veggies), leftover corn muffins from Monday
Saturday - OUT {release at STW!}
Sunday - Pan Fried Trout, spinach salad with red onion and lemon vinaigrette, corn {working extra hours?}



Gina

Friday, February 7, 2020

5 thing Friday - clothes, Winter decor, mother, wineries, produce

Does anyone else borrow their Hubby's socks?  I know it seems strange.  But he has colors I would never buy for myself because I just don't think about it. {grey, charcoal, blue...}
One of the things I like to do for Spring is closet cleaning.  We need to go through our wardrobes and look at what we may need to replace/repair.  That might be part of our Sunday morning before we go and do.  I need to take all of his slacks to the cleaners, too.
So exciting.
I still have my Christmas wreath up - I just took off the sparkly reindeer and added some gold berries.  I think it looks rustic glam with the burlap ribbon against the chocolate brown door.  
I also left out the pinecones because they look like Winter to me.  I know it feels like Spring here lately, but there's no sense in replanting this pot just now.  Typically we get snow or ice in February, and true to form, we woke up to a lightly snow covered backyard yesterday morning. 
 Last week my mother got another partial thickness transplant of her right cornea.  I hope this one heals better than the previous one {a couple of months ago}.  Its very hard on the elderly to undergo so many procedures and stress.  And she is constantly worried about her vision, driving, and living independently.  Really all I can do is help her troubleshoot some situations so that she is intentional about her own safety.  Someday soon, her living situation may have to change.
When I am with her, I try to encourage her to be careful, but not fearful.  I want her to feel as confident as she can.  People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.  Park near the cart return, grab a cart to steady yourself up the parking lot to the store.  It will help you return to the car safely, too, making you more likely to be seen.  Also, bright clothing helps!
Driving home from her house last week I stopped by Rising Sun Vineyards.  The drive up to their property is so lovely.  {see what I mean about the weather?}  One of the owners was there pouring and she remembered me and thanked me again for the article I wrote for the website back in November.  I enjoyed a glass of wine on her porch and got to meet her marketing lady, too.  Such a friendly winery and such beautiful views.
We have had to make some hard choices about wine clubs lately.  More about that later...
We were eating so much kale and though we really like it, I wanted us to have more variety in our produce boxes.  Enter Rainbow Chard - so mild, easy to saute, and so delicious.  I paused the Imperfect delivery for the week because I had plenty of veggies, but we will start back up on Monday.  Its been great at keeping us accountable for eating fresh veggies and we get to try new things!


Gina

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