Friday, February 28, 2014

Gone...

February 2014 will be history in about thirteen and a half hours. It is tres true that the older you get, the faster time flies by. With complete candor, for someone approaching her 60th birthday, I won’t lie: The lightning speed of the passage of time can cause me anxiety.

TLC and I started this blog three years ago. We can’t quite wrap our heads around that. I’ve noticed, over the years, that a post I did on February 28, 2011, called In Like a Lion, has become one a lot of our “visitors” check out. I’m not sure why. However, it was the first “alliteration” post I did. If you have a few minutes, take a peek at it. (No, I still don't know how to "link" you to it. Awfully sorry about that.) Reading it might help get you in the mood for The Month of March!

Last night Grey’s Anatomy came back. And Scandal. TLC and I have been Grey's fans since the very first show. Yes, there have been some seasons that ended up being particularly difficult to watch. I can even remember one year TLC almost dropped out. Forever. Some of the storylines were too cRaZy/challenging/out-there for her. I convinced her to hang in with me/it. For us, it’s one of those shows, like Designing Women, Murphy Brown, and Friends, that become such a part of our lives, we can’t imagine them being over.

TLC and I discovered long ago we can have quite different tastes when it comes to TV. (And movies. And clothes.) She hasn’t started Scandal. I gave her the first season on DVD for Christmas, but she hasn’t had the chance to get it in her lineup. I kind of have to psych myself out and get in the right mood to watch it. It’s like 24 was for me and My Sweet Hubby (MSH)—we had to feel almost brave to watch that series. We’d get mad. Stressed. Confused. Scandal scares me! It makes me shudder. Look away. Cringe. (I haven’t cried, yet, but that doesn’t really surprise me. I think mostly I could chalk that up to the fact I can’t totally relate to this show. Yes, I realize everything on it is possible. More than possible. Downright probable. Still, it’s foreign to my simple life and world in North Central Texas. I’m completely obsessed with it, however, because the stories within the story intrigue me immensely. As with 24, I say (to myself, since MSH doesn’t watch Scandal with me…): Who thinks up this insanity? These plotlines? These characters? What is WRONG with them? (Said kind of jokingly—and yet kind of seriously.)

There’s a show that started this week called Private Lives of Nashville Wives. (I got totally hooked on the series Nashville last Fall and cannot miss it.) Unlike TLC, I never boarded the Real Housewives’ Trains to The Cities of Unreality. I watched a few of them, here and there and mostly at TLC's encouragement. I decided they were simply not for me. But the Nashville wives? I predict I’m going to get hopelessly hooked on this one. Mostly because of a pair of twin sisters that are very, very, VERY innerstin’ and witty. Check it out. Not sure of the night but it’s on TNT channel.

MSH and I have begun the new season of Worst Cooks in America. With Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay. We laugh out loud. Constantly. (And shake our heads occasionally. It’s sometimes difficult to believe they really are as bad at cooking as they seem.)

If you don’t watch The Voice, I say you’re missing out. The talent is impressive. The Judges? Too, too, TOO endearing. TLC and I are trying to keep up with American Idol. We like J. Lo, Keith and Harry. Bunches. But we don’t need this show as much as we crave The Voice.

Other shows I adore: Parenthood, Modern Family, The Middle, Mike and Molly, Cougar Town, Kirstie, and The Exes. (Are you finding a pattern here?)

And, there you go! My TV show opinions/recommendations. For what they're worth. You’re welcome!

Have a WONDERFUL Weekend, Wherever in this World Y’all are!

smooches

p.s.: TLC and I are, sadly, behind on the incredibly marvelous Downton Abbey. We've got Season 3 to conquer. Yes, it makes us frustrated. Unfortunately, we've heard about a few "twists" we would have preferred not to know. Sigh. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

tuesday thoughts...

I love my Sweet ELC for so many reasons. She's the strongest, bravest, most caring woman I know. She is my role model for being a Mama to Little Leighton. She loves with her whole heart and soul. I'm so thankful for the precious relationship she and LL share -- you should see my daughter light up at the mere mention of "Mam."

One of my most favourite things about her, though, are her texts. She likes to take "screen shots" on her iPhone of funny, helpful, inspiring, uplifting, encouraging "things/thoughts" she sees on Facebook. She'll then print them (like you would a picture!) at her local Walgreens or simply text them to me. I love to save them on my phone and flip through them when I'm really missing her -- which is basically every minute we're not together.

I wanted to share a few recent ones with y'all today:





Happiest Tuesday!

P.S. We miss you, ELC!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Twenty-Three...

We’re looking at the probability of a gorgeous Sunday in North Central Texas today! I’m going to challenge myself, and TLC, to meditate on one or more of these twenty-three beautiful words (in honor of the Twenty-Third Psalm and the 23rd of February):

Love

Faith

Hope

Joy

Trust

Compassion

Peace

Kindness

Strength

Wisdom

Bliss

Patience

Gratitude

Tranquility

Comfort

Loyalty

Warmth

Freedom

Courage

Calm

Harmony

Laughter

And, finally, one of my most all-time favourite words: GRACE.

My Prayer…

Almighty Lord God,

Thank You for this day. Thank You for Your love, compassion, strength and wisdom. Thank You for my hopes and dreams. For laughter. Most especially I thank You for Your glorious GRACE. Please give me courage today to be kind, loyal, comforting and patient.

In Your Son Jesus’ Name, I pray.

Amen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

a mini yummy...

I wanted to share a quick, little, "mini" YUMMY with y'all...

Burlap Bunny Bunting! (Yeah! Aliteration!)



I was power shopping Target yesterday (I just can't stay away) and came across these cuties on the end of the "picture frame aisle." I couldn't resist. I think they were maybe $6? Don't quote me on that (Little Leighton colored on my receipt and it has since been misplaced).

Y'all know how much I love burlap, and I just adore buntings. I think these are positively precious for Easter. I couldn't wait and had to hang it up this morning. Fabulous and festive. Bring on SPRING.

Happy Friday Eve!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Epic


As a nod to TLC’s Love of All Things in “List” Form, I submit to you, on this Marvelous Monday, some of my past weekend’s observations:

 

  1. The word “epic” is being used constantly. By everyone. Newscasters. Journalists. Sportcasters. Radio Disc Jockeys. Celebrities. People who'd like to be celebrities. Politicians. People who'd like to be politicians. I noticed this long before the Olympics. I am totally and completely OVER this word. Please. Everyone. STOP. Go back to “amazing.” Oh, that’s right. You still use that one, too. Sheesh.
  2. I walked with My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and Teddy Buddy Boo Bear (TBBB) for three days in a row: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To our gate and back. Up and down our tres steep hill. By Sunday afternoon, my left knee was huge/extremely swollen. And it hurt terribly. This is what happens to moi when I attempt to do the right thing for my body and walk/move/semi-exercise. I’ve diagnosed my injury as mostly arthritis—irritated by My Climbs (You can now hum the Miley song if you'd like...I won't be humming it, however. She is not my favourite anything. Actress. Singer. Ex-Disney star.). I’ve been icing it and off of it since yesterday. Ibuprofen is only minimally helpful for the pain. Getting old sucks. There. I said it and I’m not ashamed. Because it’s the dadgum truth.
  3. MSH and I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics. I won’t go into our opinions about where it’s being held or how much money they spent on the venue, entertainment, etc. (We didn’t watch the Opening Ceremony but heard it was quite incredible.) Through all of the politics, the daily drama (for example, the Russian/American hockey game) and the potential terrorism, each country’s “Team Members” are to be greatly admired. They are inspiring. They are fantastic. Their individual dedication is positively, unequivocally AMAZING and beyond EPIC.
  4. MSH and I made a quick trip to Ft. Worth on Saturday. No matter how often we go, we're always reminded of our love of all things “Cowtown.” We went to a Target store for the first time since before Christmas. Although we won’t be using a debit card there for many a moon, I still adore Target. Why, oh WHY, did they have to allow such a terrible breach of security? (Please picture me with a tear slowly going down my soft, yet slightly wrinkled, cheek…) The criminals/hackers are getting ahead of us, Folks. We’ve got to solve this on-going, scary, ridiculous problem. Period. (And when I say “we,” I certainly don’t mean me. I can’t even post pictures on this blog, so I sure can’t figure out how to track down and prosecute/punish these despicable losers who need to get real jobs and do good—not EVIL.)

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Time, once again, to Ice, Ice, Baby. Thank you for your patience!

Smooches and HUGS to each of Y’all, Wherever in the World you are...
Have a WONDERFUL Week!

Friday, February 14, 2014

a valentine for little leighton...

On this Valentine’s Day, 2014, TLC and I would like to give Y’all...

14 Reasons (even though there are actually 1400!) We Heart Little Leighton!

TLC/Mama’s Seven:

  1. Her new trick: walking backwards!
  2. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she’ll look up at the ceiling and go through the cast of characters on Sesame Street (quietly, but out loud): Eh-mo (Elmo); Ab-bay (Abby); Coooook—eee (Cookie Monster); Buh-t (Burt).
  3. The way she rocks her baby dolls and pats their wee-wittle backs.
  4. Her tiny but absolutely amazing memory and how she uses it to “read” books out loud—it blows this Mama’s mind!
  5. Her love of coloring. I’d be ecstatic if she became an artist one day. (ELC still thinks it’s fun to color…bless her self-described un-artistic heart…)
  6. The way she sings and dances—so joyfully and unabashedly!
  7. She’s my shadow. My sidekick. I love hearing her call out “Mama?” when she’s temporarily lost me in the house. Which is very infrequently and doesn’t last longer than five seconds.

ELC/Mam’s Seven:

  1. That she’s her Mama’s Mini Me! She’s literally taken me back in time to TLC’s birth, infancy and toddlerhood.
  2. Her exquisitely mesmerizing, expressive and beautiful eyes.
  3. Her cRaZy hair!
  4. That she loves green beans and blueberries!
  5. That she already loves clothes and shoes (like her Mama)—but only wants to play with her bows and headbands.
  6. That she already needs books—reading/looking at them many times throughout her busy days.
  7. That she says “puhls” (for pearls—I have a dish of old pearl necklaces on my nightstand that she must play with three or four times a day when she’s at our casa) and “guhls” (for girls). Too cute.
And now, for your further entertainment (okay, we get it, it's really for ours), please enjoy a few pictures TLC made this morning after Little Leighton opened her Valentine cards and gifts…






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Redbird Ranch

My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I were blessed with a TLC and LL (Little Leighton) visit last week! Have I mentioned I often call LL “Biscuit?” For some random, odd reason, I started calling her “Sister Biscuit” soon after she was born. TLC had been “Sugar Bear.” Then just “Bear.”  (In Texas, we apparently think our loved ones need nicknames.) TLC and I know a gal that calls lots of friends and acquaintances  “Biscuit.” Instead of “Sugar,” “Sweet Pea,” or “Honey Pie,” I suppose. The nickname Sister Biscuit came to me almost the day of LL’s birth and that’s what I called her for the first year. I mostly have shortened it, now, to (only) Biscuit. Our Girls came last Wednesday afternoon. TLC stayed two nights—got a birthday “Spa Massage” treat and a haircut and color by Kit from me and her Dad. Then headed to her casa after lunch on Friday. Her “30th” celebration was in Dallas on Saturday.

Biscuit, MSH and I had a BLAST. Yes, she’s exhausting when she’s awake. She is everywhere. I mean, one cannot take one’s eyes off of her for more than literally five seconds. She makes the rounds. During this stay, she discovered our pantry. It’s in our utility room. She was fascinated by all the stuff on all of the shelves. In addition to the vacuum buttons. The dogfood container. Everything. She’d sit and stare. Pointing and trying to name what she was seeing. By Sunday, it’d lost it’s fascination. Thank goodness.

The weather in North Central Texas has been YUCKY. Beyond yucky. I hate to complain because clearly there are many places in America that have worse conditions than we do. Seriously, we are ready for temps in the 40s! Heck, we’d go for the 30s, at this point. Friday we couldn’t get Biscuit outside at all. Saturday afternoon, we finally had a chance to put a coat on her and get some fresh air. Gave her a ride in her Radio Flyer red wagon. We took her down to the Big Tank to feed the catfish. (Unfortunately, the top three inches of the tank were completely frozen. No fish had any interest in trying to break through to the food stuck on the ice. Poor fishy-fishies.) We toured our Barn and Barn apartment.

Here she is putting a rock in her camo jacket pocket. (So far so good on NOT putting anything like that in her mouth.) MSH (Biscuit calls him PaPa, instead of Pa-Dad—like the other six Grands) decided she should know about pockets and putting stuff in them…such a “guy” thing, right?

Here she is standing on her head! As y’all know, her Mama loved doing this. Clearly this talent is passed on genetically…


Playing quietly and sweetly on our bedroom floor. (This behavior lasts no longer than about 17 minutes. Then she’s up and runnin’ to another room…Sheesh.)

We (reluctantly and, I confess, with some tears rolling down my Grammy cheeks) took LL Biscuit home to her Mama and Dada around noon Sunday. She slept about an hour and a half during the two-hour trip. We had to literally drop her and scoot. We have Buddy Bear and Morty to take care of, dontchaknow. (They must be fed around 4:00 each day. Priorities, please.) Plus, yep, the weather was looking iffy. It’d started out Sunday morn looking hopeful for the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. By 2:30 it was acting funky. Cloudy. Cold. Windy.

Yesterday, I spent most of my waking hours in my home office. In my jammies. This drives MSH cRaZy. He’s the kind of man who has, for at least 57 of his almost-70 years, gotten up early and worked hard all day.(You know the saying: Early to bed…early to rise…yadayadayada…) He retired a year ago in January. Had a heart attack in April. Changed his diet and routine immediately (out of deep gratitude to our Lord God Almighty) in order to live with better intentions and health. With usually nothing too-terribly pressing to do, he STILL gets up between 5:00 and 5:30 every morning, walks Buddy Bear to our gate and back—no matter what the weather—unless our hill has solid ice on it (which it did this morning and still does)—showers, dresses and spends his day with projects, purpose and the ability to be ready for anything.

When I began working part-time six years ago, I found myself staying in my jammies more and longer on days I didn’t have to go to town. The kicker? I knew he’d be happier if I was dressed when he got home from his job. (All five of his kiddos can tell you this…hmmm…what shall I call it?...work ethic?...obsession?...annoying habit?...was taught to them early in their lives. They all have funny/great stories about him waking them up on weekends as kids and teenagers!)  I soon discovered if I encouraged him to let me know he was on his way home from work, I’d have about twenty minutes to get dressed! Okay, so sometimes that was at 4:30 p.m. Or 5:30 p.m. Or 6:00 p.m. (He always left the house by 5:30 a.m.—just didn’t always get home at the same time every day.) Now that we’re both retired, I have to try my best to get in the mood to get dressed. On days like yesterday…(okay and maybe today)… if I smile really big and give him some warning, he can occasionally handle one or two of my  “Pajamas Only” days.

In between paper and computer work, bill paying and organizing yesterday, I’d leave my office to work on laundry. As I walked by my window, I’d see literally fifty Cardinals feeding at our six feeders that are about twenty yards from my office window. I could see them, too, from the window in my utility room. I caught myself stopping and staring at least twenty times in about five hours. Y’all know how excited I was about the ducks! This is even better for my heart and soul. (I’ve previously shared my love for Cardinals. They are, hands down, my most favourite bird.)

I don’t know how it’s happened…or why…but you must believe me when I say there are a minimum of fifty Cardinals entertaining me today, too! A little over half are the males. Some are HUGE. The problem with proof? I can’t get a picture of them from outside. I’d have to open my back door. As soon as I do, they’re gone. Every last one. So this is made from inside my casa. Hence the screen obstruction. And, of course, you can only see a sixth of the total number of birds I’ve been watching for two days.


Yes, Mortimer the Cat has tried to annoy and attack them. See below. Each time we catch him attempting to sneak up on these sweet birds, MSH or I open the back door and scare him/them off. He looks at us like he's saying: "Thanks, traitors." Sigh. Tooty cat.

Can you spot Morty? 
It's like "Where's Waldo?"

This morning I considered re-naming our place “The Redbird Ranch.” (You wondered when I was ever going to get to this explanation, right? Patience, Friends. It’s a virtue! And necessary when I’m involved in a story. You know this by now…)

Like millions of Texans and Americans, we’re praying for some warmth tomorrow. It’s supposed to be 49! Woo Hoo and Yippee!

Hope you’re cozy and safe—Wherever in the World Y'all are…

Gotta scoot—gots to Tweet!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dutch Oven Tortoise...

I love My Sweet Hubby (MSH). There has never been anyone else that makes me laugh harder than him. (Although TLC runs a very close second and now Little Leighton is about to be in The Top Three Sillies That Make ELC Laugh Out Loud.)

MSH has had hearing “issues” for at least twenty of the almost 37 years we’ve been together. For the first ten years of this twenty, as we noticed his hearing was, in fact,  getting bad, I often accused him of “selective” hearing. I clearly remember a trip we (MSH, TLC and moi) made, about sixteen-ish years ago, to Ft. Worth. For some shopping and dinner out. MSH was driving one of his many Tahoes he’s owned over the years. TLC and I were sitting in the back. This wasn’t normal. Normally one of us would be in the front with him. We didn’t usually make him “chauffeur” us. I’m remembering he wanted to listen to a new CD he’d bought and TLC and I had some chattin’ we needed to do.

So that we wouldn’t disturb him as he listened to his music, we were talking in our low, quiet voices. We soon discovered he could hear every word we were saying. Despite the road noise. Despite his music. And with us virtually whispering. He alleged it was because he could hear “deeper” tones—as opposed to our typically shrill high voices? Whatever. We’d been suspecting he wasn’t quite as deaf as he tried to make us all believe.

He bought his first pair of hearing aides about fourteen years ago. They honestly help. A lot. When he wears them. However, he doesn’t like to wear them at home. (Unless we have company—then he’ll begrudgingly put them in.) We've simply learned to talk really loud to him.

This is the conversation I witnessed a few days ago, when TLC and Little Leighton Facetimed us on our iPad (MSH was sitting in HIS Chair. I was sitting next to him, holding the iPad so TLC and Little Leighton could see us both):

MSH: Did you ever get that Le Creuset Dutch oven you wanted?

TLC: Yes, Dad. You’ve forgotten I used a Christmas gift card and got it a few days after Christmas.

MSH: Oh, right. I remember now. Have you used it yet?

TLC: Yes, Dad. You’ve forgotten I told you I used it last week—I made short ribs in it.

MSH (as his pretty brown eyes got HUGE...): Tortoise? You cooked tortoise?

At this point, TLC and I looked at him to make sure he was, in fact, seriously asking if she had cooked a tortoise in her new LeCreuset Dutch oven. We stared at each other, via the iPad, with complete and utter disbelief. Then, well, we laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

ELC: Let me get this straight: You just asked TLC if she cooked a tortoise?

MSH: Well, that’s what it sounded like.

ELC: It sounded like tortoise. Even though you’ve never cooked a tortoise and you’ve never known TLC to cook a tortoise, you truly thought that’s what she said? Seems like right before you’d let that come out of your mouth, your brain would tell you that couldn’t possibly be what she said and you’d make the quick decision NOT to ask her that question. Instead, the smarter response might have been: I’m sorry—what did you say?’”


TLC lovingly calls him LF. For “Little Fruitcake.” I believe that’s a reference to what Suzanne Sugarbaker would often call Bernice on Designing Women.

I've suggested to TLC that she might try cooking a tortoise next week. In her new Le Creuset Dutch oven. I’m sure she’ll let us all know how it comes out.

Sheesh. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Snacks: Toddler Edition!

Today, in honour of the Super Bowl, I wanted to whip up a yummy and healthy treat we could all enjoy. I'm always looking for creative and delish ways to incorporate more veggies in our diet. I saw this recipe on Pinterest a couple of months ago and decided these would be perfect to munch on during all of the pre-game hooplah. Let me tell you what: they were a HIT! Even my husband who is pretty anti-cauliflower loved them.

Cauliflower Tots
recipe from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups cooked cauliflower florets, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture in your hands and roll into small ovals. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking until golden. Makes about 32 - 34 tots.


My adaptations:

I used frozen cauliflower -- one bag was just enough for two cups. I simply followed the instructions and let them cool a smidge, while simultaneously draining them on a few paper towels, before chopping. I also used 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder versus the fresh -- two reasons: I only had frozen onions on hand and decided I wanted a more "mild" onion-y flavor.

I only buy "full-fat" cheese -- the calories are oh-so-worth-it to moi. This obviously altered the calorie count (for that information, click on the "Skinnytaste" link above!) but I'm okay with that -- I think the "real deal" melts much better -- more smoothly. Cheese is my love language. And Little Leighton's, too!

Instead of rolling each one by hand, I used my prized Pampered Chef cookie scoop. This made for a much larger tot. I was only able to get about 16 out of this recipe. This was the perfect amount for my peeps. We even have leftovers for tomorrow! I did follow her cooking times, though, and they turned out perfectly golden and crisp. Here's a picture (though, please take note: food photography is not my forte):


I would say this was most certainly a TOUCHDOWN (pun intended) for TLC! Even if you think you aren't a fan of cauliflower, give these a whirl.

Now, I must get back to my commercial watchin'.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, y'all!