Monday, April 30, 2012

Daggers

Not the kind you get (or give) at a party or restaurant when someone you don’t care for—or who doesn’t care for you—walks in the door. Not the kind I used to give TLC, as a toddler and child (and, yes, sometimes as a teenager!), while we were in Church, or out in public, and she wasn’t acting appropriately. Daggers (aka "Mom Eyes") were my first “warning.” I must say they worked approximately 8 out of 10 times. Grazie for that, TLC. May you have such luck with Little Leighton. (I’ll be standing by for encouragement when they fail—because they will. No worries.)

I’m talkin’ Spanish Daggers. The cactus kind. At this point, let me respectfully request you NOT tell me the pictures you’re about to see are NOT Spanish Daggers. I haven’t Binged this term and don’t intend to. Because this is what I’ve called them all my life and especially the past twelve years—when we moved out to the country. If you try to tell me some other, possibly correct, name? I won’t remember it. You know this about moi by now. I’ll only remember what I’ve always known them as—terribly sorry. It is what it is.

The first couple of years we lived in the sticks, I was, admittedly, a bit oblivious to our cacti. Once I became deeply appreciative of the fact they make great “native” (and by “native” most of us mean “free” at least 65% of the time) landscaping plants, I started noticing the Daggers with genuine interest. This time of year especially. When they’re “blooming.”

There are places on the road to town where there are so many Daggers, the ranch pastures look like battlefields and the Daggers like soldiers. Lined up in their brigades. Standing guard. At night? As your headlights (or a full moon) shine on them? They literally shimmer. Like diamonds. Gives me chills just picturin’ this. These thoughts almost* make me want to drive to town tonight just to see this phenomenom. Since it doesn’t get dark until almost 9:00, the time I’m normally safely in my casa, sittin’ on my couch in my jammies, watching The Voice, this is unlikely to happen. I'll have to settle for looking outside our front door (or actually walking out on the porch) at our hill, when I get up to get my 100-calorie kettle corn snack around 8:45, and hope for a bright moon to cause our own Daggers to give me "goosies," as JLo calls them. (Yes. I know. She'd Idol.)

Beginning of a Dagger.
(Can you spot TBBB in the background?)
Taken 3 weeks ago.

Still growing tall!
Taken last week.

Up close. 3 days ago.

Looking up from our road.
On my walk with TBBB--this morning.

That's our neighbors' pretty tank in the background.

Headed back up the hill--breathtaking.

Spanish Daggers (or whatever their true name is!) ROCK

smooches for now, Dear Friends…

ELC

(BTW: Cacti babies are EVERYWHERE—it’s tres sweet and precious. TLC won’t allow me to include any more pictures of our tiny cacti babies. She thought that was a little "creepy" last year. Silly Little Mama.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Day in the Life of Moi

I'm borrowing a page from ELC and Emily, a wonderfully creative blogger from Jones Design Company, to give y'all a peek into what a typical week day is like for me. I decided to document this by taking a fun (or not—you be the judge!) photo of each hour of my day Wednesday.

(Note: After my 8:00 p.m. picture, I was out like a light.)

(P.S. And the Rangers won!)




6:00 - Morning routine: Makeup. Hairspray. (Lots. Duh.) Skinnygirl Energizing Leg Cream. (To try and prep my lower extremities for the inevitable swelling.) BLV Notte Perfume. (Lots. Duh.)

7:00 - How do I love thee, Starbucks? Let me count the ways.



8:00 - Not the first, nor the last, powder room break for this Preggo. (P.S. It's very challenging to try to be covert as you take a picture of the restroom sign—you understand—without looking like a total fruitcake.)



9:00 - Surprise cupcake treat from my dearest January! What a perfect "breakfast dessert!" It's strawberry. Or, in my world, FRUIT!



10:00 - Mailing ELC two Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. (Did you notice my sassy new summer purse in the background?)

11:00 - Chug-a-lug. Second bottle of the day. (Yeppers! Still have my "Wedding Day Countdown Clock," from sweet Lauren, proudly displayed on my desk. Perhaps I should have it countdown to Little Leighton's grand arrival?)



Noon - Lunch! Yum. Extra pickles, please!




1:00 - Hello (again, again, again… I've lost count), Friend!



2:00 - Self-explanatory.




3:00 - Snack time! I believe this is also self-explanatory. (See last post.)



3:45 - One final stop before quittin’ time! I have quite a commute home and quite a wiggly Baby Girl.



4:00 - On the dot. Headed home!



5:00 - Home! Swollen tootsies are propped up. Watching a rerun of The Closer. I adore Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson.




6:00 - Playing outside with Henry! (He was "helping" Hubby water. I think he drank more than the ivy and periwinkles.)



7:00 - Go Rangers!




8:00 - Saying Sweet Dreams to ELC!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Recap: Via A List

1. Watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Friday night. Not. A. Fan. Too much for my pregnant brain and eyes.

2. Let Henry out of his crate (aka: jail) early early Saturday morning. Discovered he had somehow chewed the window sill, as in wedged his snout between the bars and munched away. Not. A. Good. Start. To. The. Morning. Called ELC crying. Bless her heart. Mom makes everything better.

3. Ate the yummiest bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (with a banana) for breakfast. It calmed my frazzled nerves.

4. Ate a package of Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers later that morning. New favourite snack, compliments of My Sweet Dad.

5. Picked up Little Leighton’s bedding. Love, love, LOVE it! (pictures to follow—soon)

6. Ate a mini strawberry cupcake.

7. Bought a couple of pairs of shoes. Yep. I've already gone up a half size. At 27ish weeks pregnant. What will July hold? Yikes.

8. Bought a new Fossil purse to make myself feel better about my swollen feet. It's orange and hot pink and really mod. I dig it.

9. Ate a few more Ritz crackers.

10. Had a pizza for dinner. Not by myself. I shared.

11. Ate 12 Cadbury Mini Eggs. For dessert.

12. Fell asleep on the couch at Saturday night. I was plum worn out.

13. Woke up Sunday morning and made sure Henry hadn't gnawed anything else.

14. Cut all of the tags off of LL's teeny tiny clothes in preparation for their washin’/cleanin’/drawin’.

15. Placed her bows on the cute, personalized bow holder her Mama bought her.

16. Ate another package of Ritz crackers. Please don't judge. I also had some fruit.

17. Ran errands. Car wash. Bed Bath and Beyond. Buy Buy Baby. Container Store.

18. Ate a McDonald's cheeseburger. Such a scrumptious late afternoon snack.

19. Took a nap.

20. Did one load of laundry.

21. Fixed a spinach salad (a la ELC) for dinner. And Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I didn't want to share with My Husband. But I did.

22. Yep. More Cadbury Mini Eggs.

23. Watched Game of Thrones. They’ve introduced a lot of new characters. I'm confused.

24. Then caught up on Real Housewives of NJ. Team Caroline.

Oops! Insert: Washed sheets (a la ELC) somewhere between my cereal and first round of Ritz crackers on Saturday morn.

Whew! I'm tired from typing all of this. I'm headed to get a little snack. For energy, of course. I think I have five Cadbury Mini Eggs left.

Toodles!

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Friday Yeehaw Comin' Atcha!

About five months ago, I discovered, at a Wally World in Weatherford, the most SCRUMPTIOUS salad dressing we’ve had in ever and ever: Girard’s Spinach Salad Dressing.

My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I had been wondering why we couldn’t find a dressing specifically for spinach salads. Well, VOILA! There it was. We bought one bottle. We’ve since gifted TLC with two. We’ve actually gone through two and have two more bottles currently in our pantry. Next to two other MUST-HAVES for me and MSH: Williams- Sonoma House Olive Oil and Pace Picante Sauce.*



For some unexplainable and/or odd reason, I can’t find this Girard’s at any other store. I can find other kinds of Girard’s dressings. There are many and all look YUMMO. But I can’t find the Spinach Salad Dressing in the two large grocery stores in our hometown. Or three stores I've searched in Granbury. Or in at least three stores I’ve tried in TLC’s area of Texas. What the heck? I don’t know. People are either hoarding it or they don’t know to demand it.

This takes NO TIME AT ALL (because, if it took more than 20 minutes, I wouldn’t even consider making it—period—end of story):

ELC’s Sassy Spinach Salad (for Deux)

A bag or box of baby spinach
A box of cherry tomaters (for me and Hubby I usually cut 10 in half)
A container of feta cheese (can also use goat, but MUST be pasteurized for TLC—and already in little bits—I use ¼ cup)
Two to four slices of bacon—microwaved and busted up in small pieces
About 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
About 1/4 cup of walnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pecans—take your pick! (Or get wild and use all four—but not more than about a ¼ cup total.)

I MUST pull every stem off the spinach. It’s mandatory. For me, anyway. This is what takes me the very longest in making this salad. About 7 minutes. Then I combine all the rest of the ingredients in a large (preferably pretty!) bowl. If you want to make this a hearty meal—and we do, often—add one to two cups of grilled chicken chunks. Or you can add salmon. I’m not going to because I don't eat salmon (Dr. Oz and MSH would love it, right?). Wish I did. Don't. What can I say? Please do take the grilled fish option if you’d like!

About five minutes before we’re going to sit down at the table, I heat 1/4 cup (I typically use a little less than a full quarter cup; you might even choose to use a skosh more than a quarter) of Girard’s dressing in the microwave for about 20 to 25 seconds. Pour it over the salad and let it sit for a minute or two before serving. Don’t overdress! (The salad. If you want to wear a formal gown and tiara to dinner, I say GO FOR IT. I actually prefer my jammies.)

(Once you make this the first time, you’ll have a better idea of how much of each ingredient you want to add.)

Without the chicken, this is a perfect salad to accompany spaghetti or lasagna. Steak and potatoes. Pork tenderloin or baked fish. Have I mentioned NO FISH for me?

Got to scoot! We’re having this tonight. As a meal. With chicken. Yippee!

Have a Wonderful Weekend, Dear Friends . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou, Granita?

Little Leighton and I decided to make a quick trip to the country to visit Grammy ELC and Pa-Dad this past weekend. We left Friday at lunch with our agenda strategically planned. (Yes, 95% of it revolved around food.) The first item up—once we arrived: our favourite veggie pizza from the most fabulous local pizzeria in my hometown. Mission accomplished. Then we headed to Granbury! (Y'all must remember hearing about our love for this precious lake resort town in past posts. Lucky Autumn and Taylor get to live there!)

Grammy ELC was incredibly generous and offered to schedule a relaxing prenatal massage for me late that afternoon. It was divine!  And what's the yummiest and most refreshing drink you could enjoy after you finish said prenatal massage? (You probably said water, right? Sillies.) A MOCHA GRANITA. They're icy, creamy and dreamy. Beyond scrumptious. I basically live for them. In fact, when I was 15 and learning to drive, ELC and one of my cousins would pick me up from school and let me "practice" my cruising skills on the road to Granbury. That orangy-red (“paprika” to be exact) Sebring was headed straight to The Coffee Grinder for Mocha Granitas. ELC and I’ve been making trips for the sole purpose of purchasing Granitas ever since.

The moment ELC picked me up from my massage, we headed to downtown Granbury. She’d graciously volunteered to run into The Coffee Grinder for our Granitas. (Just in case you're worried about my caffeine consumption and its effects on LL, Granitas aren't made with coffee.) You can only imagine my extreme disappointment when ELC quickly returned to the car. Empty handed. A shocked look on her confused face.

"Where is my Granita?" this panicked pregnant woman exclaimed.

"The Coffee Grinder is gone! It's gone!" cried ELC.

"WWWHHHAAATTT???"

We were both completely mortified. We sat there, speechless (like y’all believe that), for a solid three minutes. No one, and I mean no one, gets in the way of our Granitas.

I frantically began a search for The Coffee Grinder on my phone. Facebook to the rescue! Apparently, they’d had to close that location (after 17 years). However, the Granita gods must have been smiling down on us because they'd just opened in their NEW location two short days before. ELC did a Dukes of Hazzard u-turn on Highway 377 and headed East towards HEB (a fantastic grocery store chain that started in San Antonio oodles and oodles of years ago). Yep! The Coffee Grinder is now located right inside. You can sip while you shop!

We didn’t shop. (Pa-Dad was waiting patiently for us—37 miles away—to return so we could have dinner. Bless his heart.) ELC and I savored every last guzzle of that Granita. My only regret? That we didn't each get TWO. They are that fabulous. Trust me.

Hey, ELC—Let’s re-schedule an exact duplicate weekend tres soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

F is For . . .

FRIDAY! (You naughty Sillies thought we might go a different direction with this? Seriously?)

AND . . . it’s FRIDAY the 13th!!! Don’t be aFraid.

ELC, Little Mama and Little Leighton hope y’all take this FABULOUS opportunity to enjoy the day and that you’ll strive to be these 33 “F"s (33=ELC’s FAVOURITE number ever):

FEROCIOUS; fascinating; FORGIVING; fashionable; FIERY; flashy; FANCY; felicitous; FORCEFUL; fair; FESTIVE; flouncy; FIRM; focused; FEARLESS; fantastic; FINE; free; FAITHFUL; folksy; FLEXIBLE; fastidious; FEISTY; flowery; FIRST; friendly; FLAMBOYANT; frank; FRISKY; free; FIERCE; fervent; and FIZZY!

PLEASE DON’T BE these 33 "F"s:

FECKLESS; flaky; FAULT-FINDING; foolish; FAKE; feather-brained; FINICKY; flippant; FORGETFUL; faint-hearted; FEARFUL; flighty; FURIOUS; facetious; FICKLE; frantic; FIDGETY; foul-mouthed; FANATICAL; fussy; FRAUDULENT; fatigued; FORMAL; false; FRAZZLED; frowny; FARFETCHED; fishy; FLAGRANT; fuddy-duddy; flatulent; fretful; and FRAGILE.

Gotta scoot . . . have to plan a FIESTA! Go to Mickey D’s and get a mini-FLURRY. Shop at Fossil. Eat some fudge—even though that makes us fluffier.

Faretheewell . . . For now . . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

OMG...CTI

Not the CTI on 24. Wow. I miss that show. Ruthanne at www.eclecticwhatnot.com made me think of it the other day. CeeCee and My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I all LOVED it. It was hard on our hearts—and nerves. We probably needed a break—from the could-be-bad-for-our-overall-health standpoint. Hubby and I recently viewed Keifer's pilot episode of Touch (yes, we are months behind on that). I was intrigued. Hubby=Not So Much. I’m going to finish what I’ve got recorded. It’s not 24, though. Sigh.

OH MY GEORGE . . .CLOONEY, THAT IS.

TLC and Her Hubby saw The Descendants three-ish weeks ago. Highly recommended it. I found it on our Directv Guide weekend before this past one. I will admit I have trouble ordering movies. I don’t know why. Two years ago, lightning hit way too close to our home. Burned up my computer and messed up our DVR box. A year and two technicians later, I was forced to call Directv Customer Service to get them to fix it, from whereever the heck they are, so we could watch a movie. Beyond annoying. Well, then they decided to charge me $5 extra when I asked for their help. We’ve been customers for eons. Those conversations didn’t go well.  

ELC to an unsuspecting Directv CSR: “We’ve been your customer for 17 years—pay you a ridiculous amount of money each month—and you want $5 more because something is wrong with our DVR and y’all can’t get it fixed?”

I will say this: Those Reps are always nice. And they don’t usually charge me. In fact, after I apologize and tell them I’m an older person who doesn’t understand technology like “you young and smart people,” they sometimes offer the movie for free! I should be ashamed. I know. But I am older and I honestly don't understand. It’s the sad truth.

Well, TLC was so gungho about The Descendants, I decided to try. Once again. To make it work. The last time I’d had a visit with a Customer Service Rep, they’d suggested I do it on-line. Had my password and was ready to give it a go. I thought it was successful. MSH and I had an early dinner, then settled down—he in his chair, me on the couch—on that Saturday evening—to watch this great movie. (And, yes, YUMMY George.)

I immediately noticed there was no light on the DVR—the light indicating it was, in fact, recording. I wanted to scream. Instead, I called and asked a Nice Rep Lady to please make sure I got a $4.99 credit on my next statement. She asked me if I had tried ordering it “On Demand.” I said it wasn’t showing to be On Demand and, anyway, I had tried that, several times in the past. It hadn’t worked. She then encouraged me to talk to a Technician. I replied, not as sweetly as I should have, “No, thanks. I’m tired of talking to Technicians. I can’t even explain what I don’t understand and they get frustrated—in a professional way, of course. Please just give me a credit. We won’t watch movies until they’re on TNT. It’s okay. I’m sure we can see some past episodes of Cops or Swamp People tonight.” I read a book.

I was so disappointed. Then, it happened. Somewhat of a miracle! This past Saturday evening, as we finished another early dinner (we are Senior Citizens—yes, we like to eat early—you Younguns will too, someday—TRUST ME), I sat in my designated place on the couch and, for some odd reason, decided to look at the Movie Guide. There it was. The Descendants. On Demand. Well, what the heck, I thought. I hit that Buy button and WOWZER! IT WORKED!!! Huh? How? Why? I was temporarily shocked and confused. THEN EXCITED! I know MSH immediately thought I’d been doing something wrong all those times in the past two years. But he didn’t say a thing. Just smiled kindly at me and said he was ready to see it!

What a sweet, funny, interesting, sad, touching, beautiful movie. I don’t intend to ruin it for anyone. I don’t think it’s a secret, though, that the story is about a woman who’s in a coma when her husband (Gorgeous George) learns she’s been having an affair. Of course, she must have been cRaZy before she went into said coma. Guess she didn't understand who she was married to! Ha and Tee Hee Hee! I was grateful I didn’t know about the sub-plots. They make the story that much more wonderful-er.

It’s in HAWAII! I forgot I’d known that. I’ve been beyond lucky because I’ve visited Hawaii four times in my life. If I’d won that Mega Millions? One of the first things I’d have bought was a home in Maui. Oops. Wandering.

There is some language that could offend you. There’s a reason for the bad words. There really is. It’s got several smart and wise messages. And it’s got George Clooney! What else do you need to know?

I give it TWO THUMBS and TWO MIDDLEFINGERS UP. (When you see the movie, you’ll understand this—I’m not trying to be crass/awful/rude/common/sassy.)

Have a Wonderful Week, Dear Friends—EVERYWHERE!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Christ's Victory

The Joyful News that
He is Risen
does not change the contemporary world.
Still before us lie
work, discipline and sacrifice.
But the fact of Easter
gives us the spiritual power to do the work,
accept the discipline
and make the sacrifice.

--Henry Know Sherrill



May The Lord God Almighty
bless you and your loved ones on
This Glorious Easter Sunday!

The Leightons

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dos Yumhaws

Yep. Here are TWO Yumhaws coming atcha!

yumhaw n. a combination of the word yummy (you know what that means, Sillies) and yeehaw (what we say in Texas when we’re extremely happy, excited, and/or thrilled and/or all three and we don’t have to be wearing a Cowboy hat, boots, spurs or carrying a lasso when we holler it).

About four years ago, we Leighton Gals were in one of our most favourite stores ever, Target, wandering aimlessly around the all-things-housy stuff aisles. We’ve both found different sheets, in the past (ELC’s “past” being much, much longer than TLC’s and, for example, Chris Madden sheets from J. C. Penney’s), that we've enjoyed. But we’ve also bought some that we ended up despising. They became expensive drop cloths. For painting. Or what we've used when we've had some type of flood in our homes. Not wanting to be negative, we aren’t going to list those that didn’t please us. Because it may have been something we were doing wrong when laundering them. (We don’t really think so, but, hey, anything’s possible.) Anyway, TLC was thinking that day, as we browsed, she might need some new clothes for her bed. She found some tres cute ones. Imagine that. Boxed. Pretty. Comfy looking. Good price. The brand? Springmaid—My Soft Sheet. She bought ‘em, washed ‘em, put ‘em on and LOVED ‘em. Since that time, she’s purchased two more sets and ELC has purchased three. Two Queen-Sized sets for ELC's Guest Room and her most recent purchase—a  King-Sized set. For her and Her Sweet Hubby’s bed (see picture below).

BTW: Have you ever heard of this trick? Wash your sheets, completing the entire wash/spin cycle. Then, instead of putting them in your dryer or hanging them on the line (does anybody still really do this?), put them on your bed. Wet. Several hours later, they’ll look like you ironed them! And feel like it, too. Clean. Crisp. FABULOUS. A friend of ELC’s shared this tip with her about six years ago. ELC, in turn, shared it with TLC. ELC does this trick. A lot. Especially during the Spring, Summer and Fall months in her North Central Texas casa. HOWEVER, she doesn’t do it if she has less than six hours to let the sheets fully dry. Also, her bed is under a fan. She thinks that’s important. But it’s also why she sometimes doesn’t/can’t do this trick during a Texas Winter Cold Spell. Her fan is typically not on in the Winter and it seems like there’s simply no way it’s going to work. Even after several house, the sheets can end up feeling too, too damp. So, 75% of the time, in the months of November, December and January, ELC resorts back to the old-fashioned way—the dryer. (You thought she meant hangin’ ‘em out on the line? Tee Hee Hee and GET REAL.)

TLC rarely does this trick. She doesn’t have the time it takes to let the sheets dry that many hours. But, on a nice, warm, Summer Saturday or Sunday? When she remembers, early enough, to do this? She adores how they look and feel.

ELC has been told you can even make another layer of your pillowcases—on top of the wet sheets!  She rather prefers to iron her cases. This is virtually the only ironing she does. It takes her about an hour and ten minutes (she has four King and two Standard pillowcases on her bed). If you think that seems like a long time, please don't tell her. She's very sensitive about her ironing skills and any judgment could send her straight to the Nutella jar (see below). Besides, it's the perfect opportunity for her to catch up on a DVRed Grey’s or a Private Practice or an Up All Night!

Here’s the picture of ELC’s sheets ($59.99—before tax):


Our next Yumhaw is a snack we both adore. We might even possibly be a teensy bit obsessed with this combo:

Rold Gold Honey Wheat Pretzels (they have a little fiber—YIPPEE!) with Nutella (protein!) and a Coke Zero! Heaven. Absolute HEAVEN. You can eat eight of these pretzels and one tablespoon of Nutella for a little over 200 calories. We both literally measure out a tablespoon—otherwise it’s dangerous. And, yep, Little Mama cannot have caffeine. She works hard not to cheat on this Rule for Pregger Peeps. She’s forced to have this scrumptious treat with water or a few ounces of Gingerale or Root Beer. True, it’s not quite the same, but Moms have to start sacrificing early. Sigh.


Happy SLEEPIN’ and SNACKIN’!