Monday, November 28, 2011

Project 52

Well, here it is, another Monday, and a rainy Monday at that. It is time, once again to report on my goal failure or success. While scanning my list, it seemed I was doing pretty good because I have a lot of things crossed off. So, while patting myself on the back, I wrote down the few things that I haven't accomplished, to get a better look at them. You probably didn't know that I was talented enough to pull something like that off. Oh ye of little faith!

Well, surprise, surprise, I've barely accomplished a little over half of my goals! This is not good. Not good at all! 

So, if it doesn't bore you out of your gourd (that word has been on my mind lately, thank you Mrsurpole and Theme Thursday!), I will give you a list of my excuses logical explanations on why there are still so many uncrossed items.

1. Lose 30 pounds (we will ignore the "by March" part!) Technically, I'm very close, but I haven't been on the scales since before Thanksgiving...that's all I have to say about that! Comprende?

3. Manage my time better - So, I have been sitting at the computer for almost two hours this morning, and I'm just now getting around to blogging. Sigh. Stupid Spider Solitaire. 'Nuff said about that.

4. Improve my blog - This is a hard one. I'm hoping my content has improved :) but there are also some things I wanted to do to my blog, but for some unexplained reason (spider solitaire) I never seem to get around to getting it done.

6. Start card ministry - I guess it's not too late to get that started, but I haven't even made Christmas cards yet!

8. Finish NC photo scrapbook - It would be very helpful if I actually printed off the photos I want to use.

9. Finish my Vacation Out West scrapbook - (Same reason for #8 - and I should have said START my Vacation Out West scrapbook - not saying that I did start it.)

12. Be better at leaving comments - Actually, I think I have done better on this one, so I'm going to cross this one off. Hold on while I do the crossy-off line.

14. Be more compassionate toward others - This is a hard one to measure. Can you ever reach a point when you say "I am compassionate enough" ?

15. Read the Bible daily - Why is this one such a hard one to do? If I don't start out first thing in the morning, it never usually doesn't get done. I always go in spurts. Sometimes every day for a while, then, I get busy, and.... sigh. 

16. Become more informed on politics - I think I've improved on being informed.(Luckily, I didn't say "Remember".) However, I felt a little stupid when someone asked the question,"Name a country that starts with the letter "u"? Hmmm, what country starts with "u"? Thinking, thinking. Uganda! Oh, let's try, United States of America! USA! USA! (DUH! On second thought, I felt A LOT stupid! Fist to the forehead.) So, that alone, disqualifies #16 from being crossed out. 

17. Learn more about the history of our country - The country called "United States of America"! I have ordered a book called "Being George Washington" which I can't wait to read.

18. Get Passport - I did get the application for my passport, but I haven't filled it out, because I'm not even sure where it is at the moment.

Well, this concludes the excuses logical reasons I have failed to cross these off my list. Stay tuned for next week's edition as I conclude my list!

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Eat if I Want To

I had to make a crucial decision. As usual, crucial decisions revolve around the food I intend to eat. And, to make it even more crucial, it was revolving around my birthday. I'm a little behind in telling about my birthday, but since I have the whole month to celebrate, I guess I still have some time!

Hubby, Amazing Daughter, and I decided (against our better judgement) to start Round 2 of the HCG Diet. We knew November would be a tough month, but we decided to go for it. I decided to wait and celebrate my birthday with Amazing Daughter, (I got her permission first. I didn't want WW3 to start!) in December. 

We've had a much harder time staying focused this time around. I don't know if it's because of the gloomy weather, the chilly weather, or what, but it has been challenging. Typically, we start getting ready for hibernation by eating everything in sight, as soon as the weather starts getting cooler. After the daily discussions on whether we should continue the diet or just wait and start again in the spring, Hubby announced, on my birthday, that he was going to just try to maintain, and start again in the spring. (Since my birthday is in early November, you see how long he lasted!) Jennee and I were still straddling the fence on what to do.

Now, a few days before this announcement was made, Jennee asked me if we were doing anything on my birthday, because she was being asked to work that evening. I said, "Go ahead and work. I'll just wait and we can celebrate our birthdays together, if it's alright with you!!" Add a big smiley face here.

I had already cheated the day before when I celebrated my birthday with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law. We made plans to go to this very lovely "tea room" for lunch. They make a wonderful strawberry pretzel dessert, which is our main reason for going there. 

We are usually pretty frugal when we go out, but on this day, we all went a little crazy. We started off by ordering these multi-berry scones, with ...arrrgggg...brain fart.... some kind of -shire cream. I KNEW I waited too long to blog about this! All I can think of is herefordshire - herefords are cows, so I'm quite sure that isn't it! Or, Wilshire, no that's not it!  Now, I've gone and ruined the whole, very elegant, English mood. I'm counting on my English friends to set the record straight. Anyway, it was quite delicious,and I felt it was my duty to eat every last scoop of  _______-sire cream!

This was my meal: Spinach and red pepper quiche, lemon tea bread, and strawberry pretzel salad.

Usually, we all end up ordering the same thing, but this time, we branched out and we all ordered something different.
Chicken Salad

Potato Soup and Cornbread

Creamed Chicken and Noodle
This was the setting:

 After we were stuffed to the brim, we asked the waitress to take our picture. 
My Sis, Sis-in-law, Me, My Mom
So,the following day, Hubby makes his announcement, and I decide "Why fight it?" and go off the diet, too. Then, the flickering light bulb turns on, and I declare, "OH, well, we can go out for my birthday after all!" Yipee! I said that part silently. The only problem was that Amazing Daughter was now working until 7:30; I had to call Son to alert him to the change in plans, and hope he could hold out for a late supper. And, Hubby was running late in getting back from a job. After all was said and done, we managed to meet at our favorite Mexican restaurant at 8:00.
 I didn't have cake, but I did have this:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That's My Girl!

Do you like award shows? I admit that I am not that big of fan of them, unless, of course, I know someone who is up for an award.

Take Josh Krajcik, for example. 

The guy on X-Factor. I know he says he's from Columbus, Ohio, but the dirty little secret is that he is in fact, from Wooster, Ohio. Amazing Daughter has been singing his praises for the past 10 years, wishing that he would get the recognition he deserves. Well, it seems, his time has come. And, if you haven't heard him sing, consider this a special Thanksgiving treat - calorie free!

And, speaking of Amazing Daughter, she is also up for an award. Check out Karen's blog. You can vote for her under "Favorite Singles Blog" - Jennee Thompson. Voting is open until November 25, so hope on over and give her a vote!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Here Comes Santa Claus

I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but, Santa did arrive in our town this weekend.

I don't know why he has to come so early, but he does. I guess it is because Thanksgiving is a little earlier in the month than usual - even though it is still the fourth week of November.

Well, if you remember, I came down with laryngitis on Tuesday, and was hoping for a miracle cure before Friday, in order to be able to sing in the community chorus. I did not receive a miracle, but thank you for the prayers. Hubby and I went downtown anyway, to support my fellow choristers. The weather was pleasant, so it made for a nice evening.

I have a few pictures, but I warn you, they aren't very good. I know the problem was my camera, and not the photographer. It was dark, and I couldn't see the settings, and, well, they are just bad. But, I'm hoping it will give you a little flavor of what the evening was like. And, I guess I won't have to worry about anyone stealing my pictures. lol

The horse drawn wagon. I would have tried for
a better picture, but the horses turned the corner
and were heading straight for me. I decided it would
be better if I got out of the way.

Hubby and I missed the actual arrival of the Jolly Guy,
but he's usually on top of the building to the left, and
he rides down the big ladders on the fire truck.
I guess it's too early for the reindeer.
Oh, but speaking of reindeer, we do have a "petting area" for an authentic reindeer. I correct my previous statement: I guess it's too early for flying reindeer. I would've tried to get a picture, but I'm pretty sure it would have just looked like a big dark blob.

Our Choral Union.
I would have been standing in
that empty space right under the clock.

My voice is slowly getting back to normal. It should be good to go for our December 2 concert.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What do you treasure?


Today I am linking up with Theme Thursday, and the topic is "treasure". There are a lot of things I treasure, but most of them are not things! (I'm also trying to see how many "t" words I can use! teehee)

My first treasure comes from Colossians 2:2 & 3 - My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know they mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

My second treasure is freedom. I'm not talking about the freedom  from responsibility to do whatever I want, whenever I want, at the expense of other's freedoms, such as is being proclaimed by the Occupy Wall Street bunch.   I am talking about the God-given freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom to pursue my dreams, and risk failure, or success. And the freedom of not having to pay for the failure of others, or others having to pay for my failures. 

My third treasure is my family, and may I say, especially my granddaughter! I love all of my family (most of the time), but there is something so sweet and special about grandchildren that is hard to explain. I love that twinkle in her eye when she is about to tease her Pappy or her Daddy, usually by withholding kisses. I love to hear the joy in her voice when she says "Grammy!" as she runs to me when we see each other after a long absense. I hope she never outgrows that, because I never will.  I could go on and on, but I'll wrap it up by saying that our kids call her "The Holy Grandchild". That pretty much sums it up!

My fourth treasure (at least right now) would be my voice. Now, don't jump to the conclusion that I have a great voice, because I don't. But, right now, I have no voice at all. It has flown the coop. Bye bye. Gone. It left Tuesday, and  I have not heard a peep from it since then. I wouldn't be freaking out about it, except for the fact that my community choral union has a concert on Friday, yep, tomorrow night. The way things look, or rather, sound, I will not be participating in that concert. Our next concert is December 2, so, hopefully, things will be  back to normal by then. In the meantime, I've been drinking lots of herbal teas with honey, and sometimes a little whiskey, hoping for results.  If you happen to know of any miracle cures, please feel free to share!

What do you treasure? Link up and join the fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hostess with the Mostest

Warning! Warning!

This blog is about food.

Last month I was at a loss for inspiration. This month, I have a few blogs in my head, but have been too busy to get them out! I can't decide if I should back track and get further behind, or start with what's most current then go backwards. 

November is my birthday month! heehee. I only say that because it drives Hubby crazy. He barely recognizes one day, so I love to declare November as MY month, just to watch him roll his eyes. 

However, I will wait and tell you about my birthday, and instead show you my Hostessness. Yeah, I just made up that word. I like typing ssss!

I am part of a bunko group, and last night was my turn to host. The hostess has to buy prizes, and prepare a lovely meal. In truth, my hostess abilities pale in comparison to most of the other bunko "babes" (as we like to call ourselves), but this is how it went last night.

Jennee helped me out by making her specialty, sweet potato burritoes. I know it sounds weird, but trust me, they are yummy. I don't have actual amounts, because it's all "to taste", but here is the gist of it: Mashed sweet potatoes, with cumin, salt, garlic powder; grilled onions, black beans, (drained and rinsed), cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese. Layer it in the burrito, then brown in the skillet. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

 We also have a very easy, yet delicious salad. I use spinach and Romaine lettuce, add craisins (dried cranberries), and sunflower seeds, serve with poppy seed dressing. It doesn't get any easier than that. Sometimes we add grilled chicken to it, and presto-chango, it becomes a meal!

And dessert was peach cobbler. I saw this idea from another blog (sorry, I don't remember which one, but it's a great idea!) Single servings baked into little half-pint jars. So cute. I left plenty of room at the top to allow for a scoop of ice cream.

 The recipe I used comes from The Barefoot Contessa,(Peach and Raspberry Crisp) but I make it without the raspberries. This recipe makes the perfect topping. Crunchy and delicious. I like a little peach with my crisp.

Here is my version:

2 to 2 1/2 quart jars of canned peaches
1 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2-3 TBSP. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup oatmeal (I like to use old-fashioned oatmeal)
1 stick cold butter
1/2 cup hardened coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain peaches and place in large bowl. Add orange zest, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 TBSP flour. Toss well. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, and 1 more TBSP flour (I usually do). Divide peaches into jars, or pour into a buttered baking dish. 

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and cold, diced butter and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches. (This makes a lot, pile it on thick! If using individual jars, leave about 1 1/2 inch head space, to allow for the ice cream.) For 9x13, bake for 1 hour, until top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. For the jars, I think I baked them about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge.

I forgot to get pictures of my prizes, but I found some really cute decorative bird houses at JoAnn Fabrics (on sale! whoo hoo!). Too bad I didn't have any of those cute birdhouses made out of gourds!

Everything turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Have you lost your groud?

I am going to attempt to participate in Theme Thursday.

Today's theme is "gourd". That threw me for a loopy loop. The first thing that came to my mind was the well known expression, "Have you lost your gourd?" or "Are you out of your gourd?". You've heard of that, right?  

I like gourds. They are pretty and decorative. Can you eat them? I don't know. That's one thing I haven't tried to eat. (Shocking, I know.) And, for that reason, I have not tried to grow them in my garden. Maybe I'll consider them for next year. Actually, if you want to know the answer to that question, go visit Mrsurpole's Place.

Here is a very cute gourd. I'm sorry. I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet. I've been singing Christmas songs since September (I'm in a community choral union, and we're getting ready for our Christmas concert.) So, in some ways it seems like Christmas should be here already. Anyway, I also have a Santa collection, so this little fella appealed to me.


So cool. Some people are so talented!
But, my favorite use of a gourd would be this:

Source and recipe

Well, now I guess you know the answer to my question. I have eaten certain gourds after all! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Project 52 Week - Whatever

I don't know what week we're on, but I do know that the year is quickly coming to a close. 

It is time to give the list a good lookie-see and hope and pray that I have something to cross off.

Oh yay! I can do the strike through three things.

#2 - Read 10 books. (Technically, I'm two chapters away from finishing book #10, but I promise to finish it today! 
Book #8 - Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines was written by my good friend Carol Wyer. I highly recommend this book. It's a hoot and a half, and I promise that you will love it.

The next one I get to cross of is #28 - Travel somewhere new. Now, don't assume that this means I went anywhere exotic. This has been my "only if I don't go anywhere exotic" option. A month or so ago, Hubby and I traveled up north to a little town with the quaint name of Geneva-On-The-Lake. The purpose was to do a quick painting job for Hubby's brother, before they moved into their new house. It seems everytime we paint for someone, we have about 2 days to do something that should take a week if done correctly. Anyway, after a hard day of painting, we decided to drive to the lake and eat our supper. As we drove, we enjoyed the fall colors on the trees that lined the road. We arrived at the lake just as the sun was starting to set. We congratulated ourselves on our great idea to have a picnic by the lake.  We spotted a couple, sitting on the beach, enjoying the sunset. We grabbed our food, set it on the picnic table, and were immediately attacked by about a million mosquitoes. Those stupid things were everywhere! We flailed our arms all around, trying to eat just one bite in peace. It was not possible. It was a complete and total disaster. We ate a bite. Swatted mosquitoes. Ate another bite. Cursed and swatted. No romantic supper. No romantic sunset. 

I did manage to get a couple of photos in spite of the mosquito attack.

If you look really hard, you can see the lighthouse

Too much zoom makes for a fuzzy photo
The moon was awesome that night
I'm going to go ahead and cross off #33 - Start cooking through the hundreds of recipes I have saved and never made. Technically, I did start cooking. I didn't get very far, but I did indeed, start.

Well, there you have it. That's my quick run-down on my goals. How are you doing on your goals?

Check out Jennee and Karen and see how they are doing.
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