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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Curses, Foiled By Rain

I had planned on doing a lot of grilling, but obviously had not paid attention to the weather report. Instead of beautiful spring days, we had a lot of clouds and wet stuff Monday  afternoon through Thursday. I guess I could  have done it anyway but I don't like to cook while dodging raindrops.



Planned:
1. Veggie meal
2. Huli huli chicken, rice, mixed greens
3. Tuna steak, asparagus, mashed potatoes
4. Leftover spaghetti dinner, tossed salad
5. Out to eat
6. Steak, baked potato, tossed salad
7. Big salad dinner TBD

VS

Reality:
Sunday: We had gone to our local produce stand and were surprised at the variety he had. Our purchases sealed the deal on our veggie meal.
Black eyed peas, okra, tomato slices

Monday: This is the one leftover meal TheHub never says no to. I am pretty sure it is because I save the sauce only and cook fresh pasta to serve it on. As long as it work, I am not complaining.
Leftover spaghetti, tossed salad, hot dog bun garlic bread

Tuesday: TheHub went to Cracker  Barrel for lunch Monday. They have a deal with. the purchase of an entree you can buy a mini meal (one of 4 choices for the main dish and a side) for 5 bucks. It is enough (with an added veggie) for both of us at dinner. It is pretty much a no brainer .
Meatloaf, Mac and cheese, squash and onions, sliced tomatoes

Wednesday: We had a little minor issue to deal with and had to head out of town unexpectedly. Thankfully I pulled some soup from the freezer to thaw before we left.
Vegetable soup, cornbread

Thursday: It was still raining and foiled my plans for steak. Instead I punted and grabbed some smoked sausage from the freezer.
Conecuh sausage, leftover smashed potatoes, green beans, tomato slices

Friday: Neither of us were very hungry, and I had 3 different types of soup in single serving containers frozen for lunches. I dumped all three in the same pot. It was not delicious but it was fine.
Soup, crackers

Saturday: While we were out and about doing our Saturday morning thing, we rode by our local fish monger and decided to see what he had that looked good. And this is why I keep a lemon in the fridge nearly all the time.
Scallops, corn on the cob, coleslaw, Italian bread

Whats next?
1. Sandwich meal
2. Tuna steaks, asparagus, some sort of potato, coleslaw, Italian bread
3. Salad, tuna dip, crackers
4.Veggie meal TBD
5. Huli huli chicken, tossed salad, maybe rice, maybe not
6. Steak, baked potato, tossed salad
7. Out to eat

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.




Monday, April 8, 2024

The Week That Was

Returning home from a trip and getting the house ready for guests was a little hard on me. There is clean enough for us to live and a little cleaner than normal for guests. I have not begun the great purge in the upstairs rooms so they had not been cleaned other than a cursory cleaning since Christmas. It needed a lot of spiffing up.


Monday: I needed TheHub to go back to work so I could do a few things I wanted/needed to do. My Beloved Sister came over and we visited for a little bit before doing a little joint business we have to do monthly.
I talked with Sluggy for just a minute before I was interrupted. I will not be able to speak with her until she gets back from the cruise. Bummer for me,  but good for her!

Tuesday: I spent most of the day doing laundry.  I needed sheets on the beds in 3 bedrooms, along with towels and washcloths needed for four nights. The joy was not doing the laundry, but having it done.

Wednesday: I spent the morning cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming upstairs, moping floors that can be mopped, dusting (again), fluffing all throw pillows, rearranging the table scape in the dining room, (It still looked a little too Easter-ish.) and doing all those little things you do before houseguests arrive. I had time to shower, put on fresh clothes and makeup, and have a little unwind time before they got here.

Thursday: I was up early and ready for the day when they wandered downstairs. While we were waiting for the 13 year old to get moving we saw 2 gorgeous goldfinches in the apple tree. I always have beautiful birds in the backyard, but this pair was brilliant .
After breakfast I took them to my happy place, to meet the participants of The Independence Place. We walked into a dark room, said hello and were pelted by foam "snowballs". Evidently once I called to say we were coming they decided a snowball assault was the best way to greet us. I am not sure you could have a better ice breaker than that. 
My company really did enjoy meeting them, and all joined right in the "snowball" fight.
We went out for a late lunch, then they decided they wanted to go to a local garden.  While they were at the garden I ran to the grocery store. I do not shop for kids anymore and we don't have things kids want  like milk  (or Little Debbies) at our house. A few years ago we started using almond milk in cereal and that is truly the only thing we use milk in.  If I am baking I use reconstituted powdered milk or evaporated milk, neither sounded appetizing to 13 and 9 year olds. I guess Fruit Loops do call for the real thing.
When they came back we had dinner, some conversations, then they headed for bed.

Friday: They had planned a quick trip to the Space Center in Huntsville. I probably should have gone with them, but I needed to do a few other things at the house, including going back to the store to pick up a couple of things for dinner. I made sure the meal would hold since I had no idea when they would be back. I am glad I cooked early because they came home much sooner than we expected they would.

Saturday: We had a slow morning while the 13 year old watched Rainman. Several of the participants at Independence Place are on the spectrum and she was interested in learning more about it. 
After she watched it we met Son2, Dil2 and TheHub's cousin B at a restaurant near the zoo.
The youngest sent a message to his middle sister  who was in L.A. having a solo vacation with their parents, saying "Call me. I'm bored'. * Bored until the talked turned into a male kid friendly subject and then he came alive. Nothing like mild toilet humor to crank up a 9 year old guy. 
They visited the zoo while TheHub and I ran a few errands. While they were in the area they took a side trip to Vulcan. It was not a great trip for my SIL because she is afraid of heights.
Son2 and DIL2 came and joined us for dinner, before we watched Alabama's game in the Final Four. Even though they did not win it was still great they made it that far. The 13 year old was a very gracious Georgia fan and actually rooted for Bama.
Son1 and Pip went to Phoenix and were at the game. They sent pictures during the game, and afterward where Pip got to meet a few players and got her Alabama sweatshirt autographed. In the photos she was grinning from ear to ear. So we have created a PNW native Alabama fan! They are coming for Thanksgiving because Pip wants to go to the Alabama/ Auburn game. Guess who will make sure she has tickets?

Sunday:  They woke had a leisurely breakfast then got ready to head back to Georgia, after stopping to go to church where a friends Son in Law is the minister. TheHub and I had a slow day watching the final game of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, and watching Alabama Softball. We both dozed off at some point then woke in time to see the end of both games. TheHub was pulling for Iowa, but I wanted South Carolina to win. And of course we both wanted Alabama to win the softball game. I lucked out with both teams winning.  I wish we had bet something like the loser had to cook dinner! I am always too late with my brilliant ideas!

Look for your joys no matter how small. They are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.
Anne

* If I am being perfectly honest I was getting bored too. The mark of someone who acts old is someone who talks about their ills and the medical conditions of everyone around them. When she was alive my mom used to say no one wants to have conversations about the sick, afflicted and dying. I agree! 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Meals, Meh

As is often happens in my life, things do not go according to plans. So, what's new?


 And who cares anyway? It's just food!

What was planned: 
1. Hamburger with all the fixings, fries
2. Baked chicken, rice, asparagus, cooked carrots, tomato slices
3. Large salad meal TBD
4. Ruben sandwiches, coleslaw
5. Grilled tuna steaks, mashed potatoes, green beans, tossed salad
6. Grilled Huli Huli chicken, seasoned rice, mixed greens
7. Chicken stuffed peppers, tossed salad

What happened:
Sunday: This meal was so lackluster it is really not even worth mentioning.
Bowl of tomato soup
Monday: I had not even begun to think about dinner but always keep a few hamburger patties individually frozen in a gallon freezer bag, I grabbed two of those to cook quickly. I also keep instant potato flakes on hand all the time. I usually use them in recipes, but hey sometimes you have to grab what is available and run with it.
Hamburger patty smothered in onions, mashed potatoes, tomato slices

Tuesday: I was getting the house ready for company and did not want to have anything but the basics. Chicken and green beans were in the freezer and cooked quickly. I always have the makings of coleslaw on hand so it was a no brainer.
Chicken, green beans, coleslaw

Wednesday: Company came in, I was tired from getting everything ready for them and I was tired.
 Take out meal

Thursday:  The day was gorgeous and perfect for doing a little grilling.
Grilled tuna steaks, garlic smashed potatoes ( the real thing) , tossed salad, dinner rolls

Friday: Our guests went to Huntsville for the day to explore the Space Center. I had no idea when they would return and wanted to have something that would keep easily in the crockpot.
Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, dinner rolls

Saturday: Son2 and DIL2 came over for a ball game meal pre-final four viewing. 
Hot dogs, baked beans, chips

What may or may not happen this week:
1. Veggie meal
2. Huli huli chicken, rice, mixed greens
3. Tuna steak, asparagus, mashed potatoes
4. Leftover spaghetti dinner, tossed salad
5. Out to eat
6. Steak, baked potato, tossed salad
7. Big salad dinner TBD

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.


Monday, April 1, 2024

The Week That Was

This week did not start with a bang, got better (much better for me at least) followed by the sadness of leaving Portland, a couple of ho-hum days and ending with more happiness. I guess you could say it was a mixed bag of nuts.



Monday: Sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning I heard weird noises. It urned out to be TheHub who had contracted a severe stomach virus. He was sick as a dog hugging the porcelain throne while the contents of his stomach made a repeat appearance. He finally settled enough to sleep a little. Once he was down, I got ready for the day and met Pip in the restaurant downstairs for breakfast. She was feeling a little under the weather too, so Son1 picked her up after breakfast and his meeting. 
By about 1 I realized TheHub needed to see a doctor. I am very thankful, because of his job, he had a working relationship/friendship with a doc in Portland. We called him and he arranged for TheHub to be seen immediately. (Especially thankful for Son1 who drove to the office in an area of Portland I was unfamiliar with.) 
A  couple of prescriptions and a ton of Gatorade along with some rest at least allowed him to sleep through the night. (Fitful sleep but at least it was sleep and not another night of hurling)

Tuesday:  We had planned and already bought tickets for a tour of a bean to bar chocolatier, Creo. TheHub thought he would feel like going but I made a judgement call to nix that idea. Instead Pip invited her friend to go with Son1 and me.  The tour was interesting and I learned a lot about the growing, shipping, winnowing, pulverizing and finally preparing chocolate for bars and candies. 
Each person on the tour was able to create a bar of their own. I chose red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper and candied ginger flakes for mine. (It was fabulous) 
I am not sure what Son1 did with his, but Pip and friend went full kid on theirs with tiny m&m's sprinkles, nuts, more sprinkles, more nuts, and more m&m's. You were encouraged to name your bar and they both named theirs Unicorn poop. They were unimpressed with the name I gave mine__Annie's.
After the chocolate tour we walked back to the hotel. We have stayed at the same place the last four or five visits to Portland because it has a large indoor pool where Pip and friend swam for a couple of hours. TheHub roused and sat on the pool deck with Son1 and me for a bit, but then he needed to go stretch out for some healing rest. 
After the girls had enough of the pool and accompanying hot tub, they dressed and we went to the hotel restaurant for a light dinner before they went home for the night.

Wednesday. The day was cold and rainy but it was a much better day. TheHub felt somewhat well, and ate a little oatmeal before we headed out to pick up Pip. We had a shopping day planned and headed to Ulta to look at everything she "needed". I told her she was lucky she is the only grandkid as she walked out of the store with a bag of things to make her feel, smell, and look more beautiful.  
Our next stop was Crumbl cookies because she "needed" those too. 
Finally we made our way downtown to the Nike store. It seems she also wanted a pair of white and blue Nike high tops.  
It might seem like we were excessive, but we see her twice a year on a good year. I don’t have the advantage to have her spend the night with us and go grab a burger or see a movie.  When we are there we have to make up for lost time. And we love doing it.
We drove back to their house and watched a movie before eating dinner. DIL1 had made a pot of chicken noodle soup with TheHub's stomach in mind. It was delicious soup and such a good thing for him to have to eat. I am very lucky to have her as a DIL. (I am actually lucky to have all three, and could not love them more.)
We visited with them a bit more before returning to the hotel.

Thursday: Son1 and Pip came over to the hotel, ate breakfast with us then stayed until it was time for us to head to the airport. We do try to be at any airport about and hour and a half ahead of our flight, just in case there are any snafus. We had an uneventful boarding but sat on the tarmac for a while. There was a slight mechanical issue with the latch on one of the toilet doors. It delayed us about 45 minutes, but thanks to the tail winds we arrived in Dallas close to our scheduled time.
Alabama was playing basketball and there was a bar next to our gate with a TV tuned to the game.  TheHub stood and watched until halftime when we boarded our connecting flight. We had planned on watching it on Live TV offered by the airline, but it was not operational. We had no idea what had happened until we landed close to midnight  and discovered Alabama had won by 2 points. I was surprised, but glad for them.
I was even happier to be able to sleep in my own bed.

Friday: I slept in then washed all of our dirty laundry and got things in some semblance of order.  TheHub came home from work early, we ate mac and cheese (what TheHub thought he could stomach) then settled in to watch Alabama softball, and Tennessee and whoever they played. I was having trouble getting to sleep so I read___until about 3:30.

Saturday: We got up and did our usual Saturday running around. We were especially happy to see our favorite produce stand has opened again for the season. They will there Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until November, and now we have gorgeous tomatoes. They had sold out of cucumbers before we got there, so I will be sure to be there Tuesday morning to snag some.
We came home, ate lunch and watched Alabama softball lose to Kentucky. 
I read a little more then it was time to start watching basketball. I am not sure how it has happened but Alabama advanced to the Final Four for the first time ever___Amazing!

Sunday: It was a drop dead gorgeous Easter here.  We went to church and got to see all the families with children (and some without kids) standing in front of a flower bedecked cross for their annual church Easter photo. The children were precious and the weather was perfect for all the Easter frocks they were wearing. 🐣
We had no plans for a big Easter dinner after church,. Instead we came home, ate a sandwich, and watched basketball games.
In the early evening Son2 and DIL2 came over for supper. We loved seeing and visiting with them, even working in a FaceTime visit with Pip,. 
While we were in Portland, I bought Son2 a ghost pepper white chocolate truffle and she wanted to watch him eat it. I think she was kind of happy to see him do it, but would have liked it even more if she could have seen steam come out of his ears.

Look for your joys, they are always out there, no matter how small.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.
Anne

March Reading List:
The Girl Who Lived Twice
Remote Sympathy (I have been reading this between library books and it took a while to finish)
North Woods 
The Things We Keep
The Silent Corner
The Librarianist
We All Want Impossible Things
Child Finder


Sunday, March 31, 2024

Starting From Scratch

Since we ate out nearly every night while traveling last week there was no following a menu plan so there is no reason to list what we had. It was anywhere from really good food to just plain fodder. We ate, we shared meals and conversation with family, rinse and repeat.

Once home we ate simple meals like cheese and crackers, canned soup, or mac and cheese.

This week we need to be more conscious of what and how we eat, since we may have overindulged both with meals and spending. I plan on using what I have on hand only buying a bit of produce. Don't think for a minute this will be a hardship. My freezer and pantry  runneth over.


Possibilities for the week*
1. Hamburger with all the fixings, fries
2. Baked chicken, rice, asparagus, cooked carrots, tomato slices
3. Large salad meal TBD
4. Ruben sandwiches, coleslaw
5. Grilled tuna steaks, mashed potatoes, green beans, tossed salad
6. Grilled Huli Huli chicken, seasoned rice, mixed greens
7. Chicken stuffed peppers, tossed salad

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.

* This is all subject to change for we are having houseguest for 4 nights. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Joys in Our Week

Most of the week was rather ordinary, but it held the promise of ending with a bang! Lucky for us! Though the work week ended with rains, winds and icky weather, neither of us cared because we were headed to see Pip. And even a rainy day with her fills us with sunshine.




Monday: This was like most of my Mondays. I try to have little planned so I can get things done to make the rest of my week run smoothly.
The St. Patrick's Day table decor was put away until next year, and an Easter tablescape is now in its place, along with some moderate Easter decor in the foyer. I like to have seasonal things out, but I like it to be simple enough that it is easy to put away once the occasion is over.
The best thing that happened Monday was a phone call with Kim's own Sissy! Lucky me!

Tuesday: I mostly stayed at home with the exception of running to Publix to pick up a few of their ad items that would be leaving that day. 
Before, I have mentioned the only use the tub in the master bath gets is to hold toilet paper. Usually I have 5 packs in there at all times. That is why during the great toilet paper shortage of the covid crisis, I had no worries about securing said item. I always bought it whenever it was on sale so I always had an abundance.  
Well, Monday when I was cleaning the bathroom and was going to vacuum the tub (yes this is how I clean a never used bathtub) I noticed only 1 1/2 packs were left. Panic set in until I could get to the store and buy my beloved Angel Soft at it's sale price. Whew! I dodged a bullet and even though I was not at my preferred number, I was at least comfortable with 3 1/2. (I think each pack is supposed to equal 36 rolls, but I believe that is for much smaller rolls that are now counted as regular rolls. Toilet paper math! Go figure!) And now I can breathe a little easier and even though not fully stocked, I at least have a good base. 
We will be  having house guests for several days once we get back from our trip, so I probably need to get a little more. ( At least 3 more ) 
Fingers  crossed, someone has it on sale this week.
Who ever knew toilet paper could bring such joy?

Wednesday: What a glorious day! I went to class, did a little running around and came home to people actually laying sod. I am very glad because it had been sitting in a truck for 2 days and there was no way I would pay for grass that died because the landscaper let it sit too long. The men he had doing the work did a nice job, and I thank them for that. Working with this particular landscaping company has not been the best experience. 
I got to talk with Sluggy which is always a fun thing. I do enjoy laughing with her.
After a take out dinner, TheHub and I watched more of "The Chosen". 

Thursday: I was able to do all the laundry and start putting  together the outfits I will be wearing while we are in Portland. (Who am I kidding, it will be mainly jeans and various tops ) It is going to be a little cooler and rainy/misty while we are there. I have put most of my cool weather clothes up for the year, but still have enough in the closet that I should be ok. I even managed to partially pack. We had tickets to a play Friday and I wanted to be all but done before we went to see Hadestown.
In the evening I had a call from Pip and Son1. According to both of them she had rather see us than go to Disneyland. I am calling that the highest praise possible!

Friday: I woke, got dressed and was about to run a few errands picking up a couple of things I needed to pack when the phone rang. It was Pip on her way to school, who wanted to know what she could bake for us to have when the plane landed. She has no clue that just seeing her is a big enough treat for us. I do love that child!
I did head out to the store later and once home I packed everything I could think of that I might need. If I forgot anything crucial I knew I could buy it there and if I forgot something non critical ___too bad!
I had changed our theater tickets to Hadestown from Sunday to Friday night. We did enjoy the play, but not necessarily the timing. Our normal tickets are for Sunday matinees. There was a big concert happening  in the same complex at the same time as the play. Sunday's rarely have conflicting events and it makes parking a non-issue.

Saturday: We woke, finished all the little details we needed to do before we left, then headed out for the airport. Woo hoo! Our flight to DFW was uneventful and we even found a food court with a basketball game on TV so we could watch while we had a snack during the layover. 
The real adventure began when we boarded the flight to Portland. The two ladies sitting in front of us were having a good time.  A little loud but seemingly good natured. We should have realized when they downed their first Bloody Mary before we left the tarmac that the flight would be interesting.  It was, and ended with one of them falling flat on her face when it was time to deplane.  It was sad.
The upside of the plane debacle trip was getting to baggage claim and seeing the most beautiful girl in our world running to us with her arms wide open. 

Sunday: TheHub and I woke, had breakfast at the hotel then drove to Son1’s family’s house to pick up Pip and take her to that wonderland of shopping, Sephora (her request).
 When I was in the fourth grade the only skincare routine I had was to wash my face with Ivory soap. After all it was so pure it floated. I do remember if it was winter and my face was chapped I would smear some cold cream on my cheeks, and if I was sunburned in the summer I used Noxema to take the sting out of an over red face, but that was it for my self care. This generation pays much more attention to things than I ever did.
We wandered around the store before she zeroed in on the exact brand she was looking for. She had 50 bucks with her and wanted 3 different things but her 50 would not cover it.  When I told her I would buy one of them for her, she LET me buy her the most expensive one. 
Not to be left behind, I did buy me a cheap (by Sephora standards, but still a little more than CVS ) lip gloss. Yes I am a high roller!
After our shopping spree, we went back to their house to watch Alabama basketball. They won by the skin of their teeth and move on to the Sweet Sixteen.
Dinner and visiting followed, then it was time to go back to the hotel and get some sleep. 
I was thrilled to be doing things with them!

Look for your joys. They are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.
Anne




Sunday, March 24, 2024

How Did The Plans Go?

This week required little time or effort on my part. Some meals were simply reformatting leftovers, some were takeout or restaurant meals and some just happened. It does not matter since we were fed, had no real food loss, and we made it to Portland to see the most beautiful girl in our world



And on to our meals

Monday Plans: Cabbage soup
This used the remaining cabbage and carrots from St Paddy's meal. I had chicken broth I had frozen and some Conecuh sausage also in the freezer. I did use the rest of the onion from the fridge, but also had to cut a new one. I threw in some of the sun dried tomatoes for good measure and some chopped celery.
It was good, not great, but good. I am going to have to eat it every day for lunch so it will be gone by the time we leave for our trip. I think I will be good and tired of it by then.

Tuesday Plans: Ruben casserole, mashed potatoes
Neither of us were particularly hungry, so I booted the potatoes. The meal was tasty but we are fond of the taste of sauerkraut, and I had loaded  the dish with it.  The one serving that remained was frozen for a lunch some day in the future.

Wednesday Plans: Tacos with fixings
We decided to just run out and pick up a chicken dinner from Jacks. It was neither bad nor good, but it was fine and I had no cooking .

Thursday Plans : Taco Salad
TheHub had tacos, I ate a taco salad. It worked for both of us with leftover taco salad for my Friday lunch

Friday Plans: Whatever 
We had theater tickets and decided to go early and eat somewhere close to the show. Some C/W superstar (I have no idea who he is) is preforming at the same complex and limited parking would be even worse. Going early and eating nearby was the best solution. At least that is what we thought might happen. It seems na large portion of the people going to the C/W concert *arrived very early and the restaurants were packed. 
Once the theater opened TheHub found something from the concession stand to snack on but we waited until we got home and ate a pb& j.

Saturday Plans: Whatever
We knew we would be eating on the plane and had pre-ordered our meals
I had a fruit and cheese plate and TheHub had some chicken dish. Mine was better

Sunday Plans: Whatever
We knew supper would happen but had no idea what or where. We let Son1's family drive the meal train and wound up eating. Pizza at their house while watching basketball. 

Whats happening this week?
Monday - who knows
Tuesday - who knows
Wednesday - who knows
Thursday - who knows
Friday - either something from the freezer or take out
Saturday - see Friday
Sunday - Easter meal  Stuffed boneless leg of lamb, asparagus, rice pilaf, mixed greens salad, grape salad and something for dessert (no clue yet)

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan or with no plan at all

*After standing in line for the theater doors to open we were able to observe hundreds and hundreds of Zack Bryant (I finally found out the dudes name) female fans. I really do need to get in touch with his tour manager because they need to rename this the Boots and Butt cheeks tour.  Boots and Daisy Dukes were the fashion choice of the night.