Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Few Things

This is a picture of just some of the food last weekend for the family party on Saturday. Jeanne bought a 5 ft. sandwich and another 2 ft. sandwich. Everyone brought various side dishes. There were 40 people there and the food was pretty much wiped out!
 The dessert bar. I didn't even take a picture of the beverage bar!! I had to go out later in the day for more gin, tonic and beer. Everyone pitches in, so it's not too much on any one. I contribute money as it's too hard to make food when you are from out-of-town and trying to cook in someone else's kitchen!
 My family went to the Cardinals baseball game---all except me---I wanted to spend as much time with my sisters as I could. Anyway, they came home with this "give-away." Finally! Something a woman can love! A St. Louis Cardinals pashmina! We all loved them---the boys---not so much.
Here's Butch photo bombing Steph's selfie.
 On my way to meet Connie for our monthly pedicure, this bus blocked the intersection. Buses are supposes to know better---aren't they? So frustrating!
 I bought the hugest blackberries this week.
 Some of them were bigger than the strawberries. They were so sweet too!
 Here's one of those cooking "hacks" that really works. Take a straw.
 Poke it up through the bottom of the strawberry and---voila'---the green top pops right off without having to use a knife and waste part of the top.
The lilacs were gorgeous this year. They smelled divine! They were so thick and lush. I just love them.
Butch cleaned out the pond---it looks so good. Most of our fish survived the winter. Now I just hope they can survive the blue herons. You can read more about them here! It's quite a story!
Lastly, my friend, Nancy gave me this precious, ceramic, garden gnome as a thank you for our trip to the beach. She meant for me to use it outside in the garden. I decided to use it in the sunroom. Perfect location---and I can enjoy it more here.

That's about it for now. Memorial weekend pictures to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Wedding

Zack and Allison's wedding was beautiful!

 Sharon and my brother, Matt---parents of the groom.
 Allison and Zachary right after the ceremony---Mr. & Mrs!
 Allison is a sweetheart and we're so happy to have her as part of the family!

 Pictures before the reception. Morgan, Jordan, Stephanie and Nicky.
 Steph and her girls.
Barb and Butch.

The reception was held at a winery. The scenery was beautiful. The dancing took place out here under the stars.
My nieces, Madison and Devon. It was so much fun seeing family from out-of-town. Luckily, with our big family, someone is always getting married, so we have plenty of opportunities to see everyone. Counting my siblings and their children, there are 44 of us! We are a big lot! It makes me so happy that everyone makes the effort to be there for family events.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Would the Real Energizer Bunny Please Stand Up?

I always refer to myself as the Energizer Bunny when I'm on high doses of prednisone. But this little girl runs circles around me! Here's the story.

I left my Fitbit at my sister's house on Friday in my rush to get ready for my nephew's wedding. I had just flown in from the beach, so time was tight. The next day, when I got to Jeanne's, my first thought was to get my Fitbit. My brother-in-law, Scott told me he logged thousands of steps for me when he did his run. That was certainly nice, but of course, I would not be able to claim those steps in our family challenge. That led me to finally do what I'd been thinking about for a long time---put my Fitbit on Evie. That little girl NEVER stops! She wears me out just watching her.
Here, she just kept jumping up and down on the edge of the counter. I have no idea why a three year old would think that was fun, but she did.
 More jumping and jumping....
 And jumping...
I got her to stop for a minute so I could get a picture. She took the wearing of my Fitbit so seriously that she kept checking to make sure it was still there.
She really had no idea what it was all about, but I showed her how she could check to see the flower grow. That flower was at the highest level it's ever been---for 2 hours and 20 minutes! That's how active she was. The most I've ever had for active minutes has been 30 or 40 minutes. Evie logged over 8,000 steps! I'm not even sure that's really the truth of it since it's set for me---I'd say it takes 3 of  her little steps to equal one of mine---but I'm not exactly sure how it works. Most astounding is that she had 37 flights of stairs!! OMGosh! She was up and down the slide quite a bit---it's a tall slide---but 37 flights. That's amazing.

What happened to us? Where did our 3 year old energy go? I want it back! Next time you see me, I just might be jumping up and down at the edge of my counter. Just maybe....

Monday, May 18, 2015

Do My Girls Know Me or What?

Mother's Day! I got the best gifts. My girls definitely know me! It was a Kate Spade and Yankee Candle kind of day!
I'm always in love with the packaging. Such bright cheery colors. Who knew Kate Spade had office supplies?
Sandy sent me the journal and pen. Inside the covers is Kate Spades signature gold dots. I almost don't want to take the pen out of the box.
Another thing about Kate Spade---she uses the best quotes on her products. This one says: "she uses a nome de plume for reservations"
Mindy gave me a gold stapler and a little note pad. The quote on the top of the stapler is: "hold it together." What better way?
And then, I got this fabulous candle from Stephanie and Nicky---personalized at that. I had no idea you could put a photo and sentiment on a Yankee candle! The scent is awesome---summer picnic. I wish I could somehow had a scent to my blog! You'll have to trust me---it's fabulous!

I love my girls---and it's apparent that they love me!!! So thankful for them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I Buy Wednesdays

When we go to the beach, we always designate one day as our shopping day. I'm not a big shopper, so I always have my book with me. We go to the Silver Sands Outlet Mall. There are stores from every designer and high end brand---Ann Taylor, Cole Haan, North Face, Nautica, Jones of New York, Waterford, etc. We have the debate that some of the merchandise is still so expensive that we believe they mark it up so that can mark it down. I don't know if they do or not.

But I know it's definitely not true of Kate Spade. I HAVE to go to the Kate Spade outlet when I'm here. I love Kate Spade---my favorite designer---my girls love her too! We have a KS store in Nashville, so I know the prices are really good at the outlet. They show the retail price and then just about everything is half price. And that is for real!!
First off, I love the packaging. The colors are always so bright and cheery. What's not to love about hot pink.
There is always the signature "spade" somewhere on that packaging as well as in the design.
The boxes are always so cute. I have a few at home that I cannot part with. I think I'll use them to package other gifts, but then never can. Plus, I think it would be too deceiving to the opener---thinking they were getting something Kate Spade only to find it's a pair of underwear instead! That would be a major disappointment!
I bought a watch and a key chain. I miss wearing watches. I know most people use their phones---me included, but I like a watch! Gold goes with everything don't ya' think? You can't tell from the picture, but straight up 12 o'clock is a tiny pink spade. The keychain---I was ready for a new one.
When you flip over the key chain, it says, "live colorfully" on the back. That's when I knew I had to have it. I DO live colorfully! Or at least I try to!! Everyday!

Do you?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another Recipe

I made dinner tonight. We had blackened, grilled, red snapper tacos. We have to have fresh seafood at the beach!!

I made a new side dish to go with the fish tacos and it was a hit. So, I thought I'd share! I found it on Six Sisters Blog. They always have great recipes.

Black Beans

2-16 oz. cans black beans (drain one can and leave the liquid in the other)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1-1 oz. packet of ranch dressing mix
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, combine beans, onion, garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add cilantro, ranch dressing, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.

I did not put in the cilantro, because I needed so little and didn't want to have to buy the quantity available. It was delicious without it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

This is how I'm spending it!
I have never seen the water and beach so completely free of debris! The water was so beautiful and clear. It wasn't that cold either. We also saw some dolphins pass by. They were black---I don't think I've ever seen black ones before.
The water level is much lower than last year. Remember the storm?

There's been a lot of reading and relaxation. We spent the morning on the beach, had lunch and then all afternoon at the pool. The weather is perfect---not too hot.There was a water moccasin by the pool today. Luckily, maintenance came to take care of it. They asked everyone to leave the pool. I was already gone!
I helped Nancy set up her Fitbit and taught her a few things about her Kindle.

Tomorrow I get to deal with the problems. The bathroom sink is sluggish. And, the dishwasher is making a terrible noise. I'm hoping I can call just one person to handle both situations. We'll see. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership!!

And now, a recipe share. I made this for Butch's poker group. It turned out to make such a large quantity, that we had it for our family happy hour, Butch's poker group, Steeplechase and I brought a container to the beach. You can easily cut it in half, except you'll have a half can of Rotel left over. Actually I don't think it would hurt to half the recipe and just go ahead and use the whole can of Rotel.

Cowboy Caviar
2 cans of Mexican corn
1 can of Rotel
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
6 green onions, chopped

Serve with tortilla chips or Frito Scoops. Really good!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Where Does the Time Go?

I can't believe it's Thursday already. This week seems to have slipped right by. I've been continuing the major clean-out of my scrapbook room and am just about finished. At least I'm stopping for now as I prepare for a busy weekend. I really don't have much left to do. I'll haul my 5th load tomorrow to "SMART"---"Scrap Made ART supplies"---it's a great place to donate. Not only can anybody shop there for great prices, the volunteer organization helps people with handicaps. Well, they can say it better than I can:


I have to give it to Butch---he hasn't complained or said anything about how much I'm getting rid of---especially since he's the one to load it all up. He made one comment to friends last week, "I guarantee you, she's gotten rid of $5,000 worth of stuff---some unopened!."

I said, "Butch, I can't even argue with that." It's true. I've gotten rid of so much. I don't stamp much, so I only kept my favorite stamps---more to look at than use. Punches---I kept quite a few, but got rid of many. Stickers---mostly gone---don't use them. Little books---all gone. I passed some things on to friends that I thought they could use. Probably the saddest to me was getting rid of all of the class materials. I've developed a lot of classes over the last 15 years. Besides regular layout technique classes, journaling classes, Quickutz club classes and my AYM groups, I've taught my organizational classes all over: PA, MO, KY and TN. That was always my favorite class to teach. Organizing is my "thing." Starting from organizing photos and memories, to supplies, to setting up your room, preparing to scrapbook, making page kits and taking it on the road---I covered it all. I loved it. I'll miss it.

Ahhh, it's time to move on.

Friday: I'll be cooking for Butch's poker group and making cookies for Steeplechase with extras for me to take to the beach with my friends. I made the first batch yesterday---peanut butter oatmeal (an old recipe from my grandma). I'll make chocolate chip cookies today. I'm keeping the dinner menu simple---"Dagwood" (does anyone know what that is anymore?) sandwiches, pasta salad and cucumber salad with the cookies for dessert.

Every one will be here before the poker group for Happy Hour as we're celebrating Morgan's birthday. Speaking of Morgan---someone stole her RayBans at school this week. She was studying in the library and stepped away from the table for a few minutes. When she got back, they were gone. I felt so bad for her. She works hard for her money!! It always galls me that people think they can just take from others.

Saturday, Karolyn, Nancy and I are off to the airport. We decided to fly to the beach to save us 2 days of driving. Susan and Pam prefer to drive. When we get there, we'll do the grocery shopping and settle in. Pam and Susan will find us poolside with a "beachy" drink awaiting them! Then it's a week of R&R.

In other news:
Mitchell has decided on Clemson! We're all so excited for him. He's been accepted in to their biology school. Plus, he's excited that Notre Dame plays Clemson this year---at Clemson!! Now if only it were "in state" tuition...I get those Carolinas mixed up. Clemson is in South Carolina while Mitchell lives in the "North." We'll be there at the end of the month for his graduation. He's pretty busy now preparing for all of the AP exams taking place this week. After that, it will be nothing but fun and games to graduation. Oh, and he's job hunting---thinking the car wash might be the place with some flexibility for family "things" this summer.

Victoria is getting ready for her 8th grade trip to Washington, DC. She and her friends have already figured out their room situation---assuming they get to stay together. Her graduation is after Mitchell's, so we'll be in Charlotte for almost a week.

Elizabeth is her busy little self with social activities. Sandy has worked with her class on Junior Achievement---which wraps up this week. It's been a lot of work, so Sandy will be happy to have that behind her.

Jordan and Morgan are finished with this semester too. Morgan will continue with her job. Jordan has a job at school, but has to find another here for the summer. She has a couple of options. Summer jobs are always tricky as they are not as flexible when it comes to family "things." The time is coming when the young adults will not be able to be with us for our family vacations.

I guess that's about it for now. Next report from the beach!

Monday, May 4, 2015

How Do You Ease in to the Day?

Are you the type that likes to lay in bed---doze, roll over, doze some more?

Or, are you the type who hits the floor running?

Guess which one I am?

We were having this conversation with friends. Butch is a dozer. It seems that most people are dozers. Me, when I wake up, I'm ready! Laying there and dozing seems like such a waste of time to me. I can't wait to get out of bed and start my day. I always have so many things I want to do. A lot of that includes work, but I like work and that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing it. In fact, I consider some work downright fun! Not the laundry.

I get up early. Sometimes on my own, sometimes related to the prednisone. I love the early morning hours. Today for example, I got up at 2 a.m. Of course, that's because I went to bed at 9 p.m. totally exhausted from the clean-out in my scrapbook room. I knew it was too early. I knew I'd be up too soon. But I got a solid 5 hours and feel great. I'm taking advantage of that. I'll get a lot done in the upcoming few hours.

The only problem with a 2 a.m. arisal (I just made that word up, but it sounds right) is that by the time I'm sitting in a dark movie theater for Movie Monday, you can be sure I'll be falling asleep! So, I've come up with a plan. I'm going BACK to bed at 5 a.m. I'll try to get a couple more hours of sleep. Even another hour will be good. On a regular basis, 6 hours is my average.

It's 3:30 a.m. I think I'm ready for breakfast.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Few Things

I was at St. Cecilia Academy last week for the "Rosary Project"---an organization that Butch and I belong to---present each graduating senior with a rosary from the Holy Land. I had to take a minute and snap this shot of the courtyard.  I designed and planted the garden here, along with a team of volunteers---nearly 15 years ago. When the annabelle hydrangeas bloom, it will be spectacular!
A lot of things happen when you haven't been out of the house in 2 months. Like this brand new shopping center!! I guess I didn't notice it was being built. My first trip out---and it's fully finished! I have no idea what all's in there. I'll have to check it out soon.
Someone blocked me again!! I purposely chose the very last parking spot---and hobbled with my boot to where I needed to be. When I came out, I couldn't believe my eyes. This person surely did it on purpose---and just slid across their bench seat---even they could not have gotten out. I felt sorry for the skinniest of my friends---Nancy A. She had to smush herself to move MY car!! One more year and this car is gone!!
When we got our telephone book, my immediate thought was---"this isn't going to help any child reach the table!" Remember sitting kids atop 2 phone books? The new ones aren't much bigger than a dvd and only about 3/4" thick. What a waste of trees! Doesn't everyone just use the internet to look up phone numbers these days?
I had the most interesting of lunches at bridge the other day. I thought of Connie---nothing she would  ever have ordered. Cauliflower puree topped with roasted Brussel sprouts, ham, gruyere cheese and a poached egg on top. The dish had me at the egg! It was fabulous! I'm getting again this week---only I'm sharing it with a friend. We're ordering an extra egg.
As my major clean out continues, I came in to my scrapbook room to find this. You just never really know what those toys are doing when you're not looking!
Another load on the way out. The place I donate to loves that all of the things I bring to them are neatly organized. If I haven't used it in 5 years, it's gone. Lots of class supplies. So sad. I miss doing classes. I'm starting on the closet today and am really looking forward to it. I love cleaning out. I've already offered to help friends when I'm finished with mine---just their regular closets. I really do love this kind of work. (Okay, Chrissy, I can hear you from here!)
My brother, Ronnie and his family are passing through on their way home from the beach. I made this fruit trifle for dessert. We put some of Butch's famous burgers on the grill. We had baked beans and oven roasted potatoes---also so easy. Just quarter your potatoes (no peeling necessary), sprinkle with a package of dried Italian salad dressing mix and toss with a little olive oil. Bake at 350 for about an hour.
I actually have one of those pedestal type trifle bowls where you can see the layers---but it's too tall to fit in my refrigerator.

Fruit Trifle
1 Sara Lee pound cake
1 lg. vanilla instant pudding
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
Cool Whip

Mix up pudding with milk and sour cream. Layer cake, pudding, fruit---twice. Top with Cool Whip. It's quick and easy---a light dessert that is always a hit.

Okeedokee, then. I'm back to work in my scrapbook room. I can't think of a better way to spend National Scrapbook Day! Can you?

post signature