Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spraining my arm patting myself on the back...

LOL. That's what Dan says when I brag on my accomplishments.
He had asked me to please bake chocolate chip cookies. (Actually asked last week, so guess my efforts are a bit late...)
I discovered that "mice" (of the very large two-legged variety) had been in the chocolate chips purchased last week. And I was almost out of flour... not sure I had enough to bake cookies. And not enough butter.

Being the nice Mom I am (Stop laughing, Becky!) I set out to the closest grocery store (Which happens to be in another STATE!) to get the supplies for the cookies, plus the other items I missed in the grocery shopping on Monday AND Tuesday.
(Really, I go to town TWO DAYS IN A ROW specifically to buy groceries... and I STILL miss items? Items that were NOT on the list... because "You KNOW we get these every week!")

So... anyway. Off to Noel, MO. I go. Just short of the state line... Road construction. They are repaving the highway. I am NOT going to come home that way. I am NOT! To avoid going home through the construction again, I have to detour... and the only possible detour takes me by a WalMart Super Center. So, forget the small store (which is remodeling, to boot) and off to WalMart. 25 miles via this route, instead of the 11 to Noel. (Am I the only person who quadruples the miles driven, just to avoid construction?)
I got the missed groceries. I got the cooking baking supplies. Came home and walked Jaffa. Then... I baked.
 I followed the recipe exactly. The dough looked "thin". But since (for once!) I had exactly followed the instructions... I scooped out a dozen balls of dough and got them on to bake. When the timer buzzed at the minimal cooking time, I checked. The balls of dough had thinned out and run together into one large puddle of cookie in the middle of the pan.
(Note to self: ALWAYS bake a test cookie. ALWAYS!)
I let it continue to bake until the edges were bordering on too brown, and the center was "set". Took it out and carved it into vaguely cookie shaped portions. Added flour to the rest of the batter, until it seemed stiff enough. Next dozen went in to bake.
At the minimum cooking time... I opened the oven to see that this batch had also defiantly rolled to the center of my warped baking sheet. They held their shapes better... but were still touching and had to be separated.
I dropped the last six cookies onto the cookie sheet as far apart as I could get them... and DARED them to roll together. Half and hour later when I remembered them... they were nicely spaced cookie briquettes.

As long as I was making messes in the kitchen, I also baked a can of "whop" biscuits and fried some sausage patties, to make ready to go breakfasts for the boys. This time, no eggs or cheese on them... just sausage on a biscuit.
I put several boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker (I got a new one!) on low. I made a huge tossed salad. We will have a lovely salad tonight, with the chicken tossed in it. I already have boiled eggs and grated cheese, olives, and assorted seeds and dried cranberries. If I think of it again... I think some pickled beets would go nicely in it.
Storms are in the forecast for this afternoon and tonight... but looks like they are all going around us.
Have a blessed day!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pennies from Heaven

I am pretty sure I have mentioned "pennies from Heaven" on here before. Finding a coin in an unexpected place while thinking of a loved one who is no longer "here" is getting a "penny from Heaven. I had two pennies from Heaven last week. The first one was when Tom and I had been driving to the health food store in the new car. It has nice leather interior, rides very comfortably. We got our goods at the store and came back out. Tom unlocked the doors with the remote, and I opened my door. There, on the edge of the seat, was a penny. It was on a sloping side... had it been there earlier, it would of slid DOWN between the back and seat cushion... not UP near the edge. It wasn't there when I got into the car earlier, because I would of noticed as quickly as I did this time.
The next penny, I found in the trunk of my car. Perhaps that wasn't weird or miraculous... but there it was, and I can't figure out a good way it came to be there.
  Today when I got up, there was a 'sticky' note on the computer. Sam needed his forgotten phone. He had called Daniel, and Dan had left me the note. I already had errands to run, so I drove on down to Siloam Springs to take Sam his phone. And so long as I was in Siloam anyway... I stopped by the thrift store. I was looking for some summery clothes... and a replacement carafe for my blender. I didn't find a carafe. I did SCORE on a coffee grinder. We already have a perfectly good grinder. Since starting THM, I have been needing to grind even more seeds and herbs than before. We have always just used the little coffee grinder. I checked Amazon for a "cheap" grinder... but didn't like the reviews. What I didn't see in looking at $10.- $20. grinders was the little one like we already have. So I specifically searched for this brand. *gasp* *choke*. My "inexpensive" (I thought!) grinder STARTED at $89. for a refurbished model. Today, I got one just like it, still in the box! for $4. (I know a deal when it falls on my foot.)
I had picked up a pair of shorts. They LOOKED like they would fit... but how many times have I been burned buying stuff I THOUGHT would fit at a thrift store? I was debating just putting them back (before I found the grinder.) I tried them on... they fit perfectly. And... there was a quarter in one of the pockets. Last time I found money in the pocket of pants at a thrift store was when my eldest two were little, and we found several dollars in a pair of pants we bought for Bill Joe. This quarter is now in my "pennies from Heaven" container.
The weather has cooled back off here. Yesterday, I walked the dog while wearing a short sleeved shirt. (Saw TWO snakes. Nearly stepped on one that was close to 5 foot long, and the dog DID step on a small one.) Today, I shivered my way along in mittens and my coat!
Looks like a weather roller coaster for the next 10 days. Some nights into the lowest 30's, and some days in the upper 70's. Wheee!
Have a blessed day. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ides of March

I made it OK through the difficult days. With less tears than I thought possible. I certainly felt the uplifting power of all the prayers and warm thoughts from my friends and family members.

Today is the first 'regular' day since the 10th. I have been busy with work, and then the weekend. (Weekend here includes Monday, when Tom and I run our errands.) The house goes downhill from Friday evening until Tuesday morning, so I have plenty to keep me busy today.
 I started the day with my coffee first. Then, I went to get dressed. Just as I am about to put my clothes on, I had the brilliant idea: WEIGH FIRST! That way, I will think I have lost weight, even if I haven't. (yeah, yeah. Mind games with myself!) I quickly went over to the scale and stood on it to see... I weighed exactly the same as I do clothed. I chided myself for the stupid idea, and then noticed... I had carried my clothes with me to the bathroom and held them while I weighed. DUH!
I had a good laugh at myself.

Once dressed, I started a load of laundry, and then loaded the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, and started it. There weren't enough supper dishes to run a full load last night, so it is now musically washing away. Then, looking around the chaos left in the kitchen because I didn't get up and make breakfast for the guys, I decided I better make a good sized batch of morning foods. I am doing breakfast burritos, and sausage biscuits. And while I'm ambitiously standing at the stove, I put some eggs on to boil. Tom and the boys carry them as snacks at work. (11 biscuits, five big burritos, two THM wraps). (Jaffa and I shared a buttered biscuit. Totally NOT on the diet plan. But, in my defense, who can resist a golden brown crusty biscuit fresh and hot from the oven? at least I SHARED it!)
In the making of the morning meals, the freezer kept popping open. So I added cleaning out the freezer to my chores.  I found a forgotten ham bone, so looks like maybe we shall have lentils for supper tonight. Those who don't like ham (SAM!) can have another chicken leg quarter. (I cooked a huge batch of BBQ quarters on the grill last night, to carry for lunches or snacks.)

So, here it is, almost 11:00am. Chores are going, some things crossed from "to do" over to the "to done!" list. I'm having the last of the morning's coffee, while I type. Trying to decide whether I want to work on the kitchen clean up now, or tackle the dusting and vacuuming next. The kitchen is in worst shape, after just cooking two lbs of sausage and more than a dozen eggs, biscuits, and hash browns. Guess it wins the imaginary coin toss. I'll race the dog's bowels, and see if I can finish before he insists it is time for "our" walk.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 2016

Here it is the first of the month... I am trying to keep busy, keep a good attitude.
Grand daughter Alana will be a teen in a few days! My Dad will be 79.
The days turn into weeks, the weeks,months. The seasons change, and the years roll along.
Coming up on the 4th anniversary of Bill's transition into the next phase of life. In some ways, it is easier than it was at first, but in others, it is still so hard.

I see have not mentioned that Dan did finally get a vehicle. After months of searching, and many disappointments, he is the very proud new owner of a 2006 Nissan Frontier pick-up. In the last days of his searching, he saw  "an old person car"... a 1998 Lincoln Town car. He was considering buying it... but it was gone when he took Tom over to look at it. Then, the truck came up, and he bought that. Tom drove back by where Dan had seen the Lincoln... and there it was. He got out to look it over. Only 70,300 miles on it. It had been owned by a little old lady whose husband passed... and she didn't drive. She sold it to another elderly couple... who owned several vehicles. A broken hip limited their driving, so it was up for sale again. Yeah, it is now parked in our driveway. (Well, *I* am old enough for senior discounts now, and Tom did pass the 60 mark!) I can hardly wait to take it for a road trip.

I got out of the house for awhile today. I voted, then went over to Hobby Lobby to get a frame for Alana's birthday present from her Dad. Maybe I can drive it on over to her tomorrow or the next day. Or wait and see if Mr C wants to go over on the weekend. I find I get out less and less all the time. At first, I blamed not having a vehicle. Now, I have TWO at my disposal... and I still seldom get out. When I do, it is on a raft of errands. (I also shopped Aldi while I was out.)

Now, supper is in the oven. I am interested in seeing how this turns out. I called it "Culture Clash". I made "lasagna"... out of what we typically use in our home cooked Chinese food.  I cooked (quick fried) some eggroll wrappers, and set them aside. Sauteed some cabbage with some teriyaki sauce (divided use), cooked some sliced marinated chicken breast along with some sliced mushrooms, and added some drained water chestnuts. Two packages of two different kinds of frozen "stir fry" veggies. One had sweet and sour sauce, which I added to the chicken as it cooked. I crumbled some of the eggroll wrappers into the bottom of a sprayed casserole dish. Layer of cooked cabbage,  layer of stir fried veggies. More crumbled eggroll wrappers. Layer with the meat mixture. another layer of cabbage, eggroll wrappers, and final amount of stir fried vegetables. I added 1/2 cup of water with Better Than Bullion chicken flavor to keep it from drying too much in the oven. Covered with foil. It is baking now. I am fixing to uncover it, and lightly sprinkle a last topping of  the fried eggroll wrappers. We shall see how the boys like it. The fried eggroll wrappers keep it from being totally a Trim Healthy Mama meal, but it should come in fairly well on the low calorie scale. Let's see how the guys like it!