30 July 2012

Found

Last night as I was be-bopping around putting things away I walked through the office and found this in my chair...

Stolen
Someone took mama's seat....

BTW, this dog has stolen my seat and my heart...

I knew we were going to have Chef Salad tonight but I didn't have a final ingredient list in my head. We had a big tub of organic go-to salad from Sam's and some cherry tomatoes and ham and assorted cheese, and we got some avocados, cucumber, cilantro and Marzetti's version of Ranch Dressing (which still sits unopened at this moment) from the store last night too. We are fans of salads in this household (actually, we are fans of food in general in this house) so I like to try to keep it interesting around here. My inspiration were those creamy avocados....I had one at lunch with the juice of a whole lime and a sprinkle of salt...yum!


Thrown Together

So, anyway, onto the green salad mix went halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber chunks, chopped sliced ham, fresh corn from the cob, purple cabbage, a can of white kidney beans (because I didn't have any black beans on hand), avocado chunks, monterey jack, cilantro, olive oil and 2 limes' worth of juice (with a pinch of salt). I tossed this together and served it with warmed tortilla halves slathered in butter. I must say this was a very satisfying meal that did not heat up the house...

The most interesting ingredients were found in the crisper (leftover cobs of corn and a half a head of purple cabbage)

Earlier today at my office I was trying to find a way to display all of the projects that I am working on currently. They are all at the same priority (high) and they are shuffled around on a daily basis. I don't want to file them away just yet because I often need a folder or 3 out to reference at a time. So I found myself in the supply room looking for a folder/binder organizer. After having no luck there, I put on my Thinking Cap and I remembered that I had a bottle dryer in the deep recesses of my cabinet to the left of the fridge. I dug around in those recesses and found something better (no bottle dryer in there) than that (guess I need to adjust my Thinking Cap, huh?).

Repurpose
Ta-da! Cooking stone holder or folder/binder organizer?

I bought this at a Pampered Chef party years ago but I don't have the counter space for it and I only have 2 cooking stones which already have a home. So I'm taking this to my office where it can be utilized once again...

Lastly, tonight I grabbed a handful of Little Golden Books to read to the Little Ones and 2 of the books I ended up reading I'd never read to them before. One was called Hush, Hush It's Sleepytime (vintage from the Ben Franklin store in Tahlequah - 1968) and the other was  A Blessing From Above.  That second book caught me off guard tonight as I was reading through it. It's a book about adoption and I choked back tears reading about how Mama Roo wanted a baby and how she finally got one... what a sweet way to illustrate adoption. It certainly isn't the first book we have around here about adoption, but it was a nice surprise book to find in the library.

I love it when I can manage a healthy dinner from the fridge and pantry. And I love it when I can find another use for something I spent my hard earned money on (and had the foresight to save..and no, I am not a hoarder). And I love it when a book or friend or situation speaks to me and my kids in a way they can understand. And I love it of course that my children and my pets have found their ways to us.

How about you? What are you loving these days?

29 July 2012

Week Ending

We had a full weekend of family and friends, so I can't really complain that it's coming to an end, can I?

Friday I was home early from a chock full half day at work. I fought off a nap to take the girls (Emi, Aubri and Gracie) to Petco. The guys went to Tahlequah to visit with Scott's grandparents so we made it a Girls' Day/Night.

We looked at the rats (for future pet consideration) and got Gracie a chew toy, and then we went home to make nachos for dinner. Don't judge, we also made brownies! I let the girls alternate between H2O and Diego (which Aubri said she likes better than Dora by the way) while I mowed the front lawn real quick-like (with the Reel mower) and quick-detailed the Disco.  Then took on the unlovely chore of shampooing the carpet in the bedroom.  I dragged the shampooer and dehumidifier up from the basement and got busy.

After I was satisfied that I'd scrubbed the carpet clean and the dehumidifier was doing its job, I joined the girls in catching up on the mermaids and then we crashed in the Living Room. Actually, just me and Aubri...Emi decided to head up to her room sometime after midnight.

Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Ozzie's.

Ozzie's

Ozzie's

Then we checked out a few local garage sales and a thrift store and went home to join some friends in the back yard. We swam and caught up (and I failed to get any pictures!) and after they left, we 3 gals took a long, fat nap. Well, I tried to finish up The Walking Dead first (still have a few pages left).

In the evening, we girls went over to Emi's friend's house for the last summer movie in the back yard party.  (Daddy and David joined us when they got back from Tahlequah.) Instead of the usual burgers and beers (for the adults, ya'll, the kids had their own drinks), we had kabobs and wine. It was a lot of fun.

Reds
The Reds
It was supposed to be a blind taste test but we weren't being sticklers...and we mixed reds and whites, but so what?

Kelly, David, Carol and Nols
We had fun!


In the wine tastings we've had before, we were serious in that we all tasted the same wine at the same time, we discussed the bouquet and the legs and the taste and we wrote these details down in our notes. Then we'd move on to the next bottle and the next and the next and at the end, we'd vote. This was more of a free-for-all but we did have winners!

Red Winner

The White Winner

And the kids had fun playing inside and out. The zipline, swings, trampoline and the movie...don't forget about the movie...

Watching Johnny English
Watching Johnny English
* I am hoping that we convinced Steve to have more of these in the Fall ("for the kids")...

Today we had lunch at my parent's house on the lake. I got to see 3 of my 4 siblings and their kiddos today and that was nice so we could catch up at least a little.  The missing brother has a good excuse - he lives in Tampa.  We drove the Red Flyer down to the water's edge and saw how low the lake was...

Bigger Beach Area This Year


Lake is Low

It was way too hot to be out for long so we didn't check out much on the lake...

Scott brought home his dad's childhood train set yesterday and today he set it up for the kids to see (I don't think they are allowed to actually play with this toy).

Is It Christmas Already?

It looked like Christmas to me. David actually suggested we set it up with the tree this Christmas... Already thinking ahead, that boy! Are you already thinking about Christmas? I've seen some postings on FaceBook that stores are putting out Christmas items...in July!

I hope you had a weekend packed with family, friends, hugs and good times...

26 July 2012

Overheard

Thank goodness for texting so that I can recall some of the memorable moments in my life that get tamped down into oblivion with work and life and etc. I like to scroll down my text messages to see some nuggets shared with family and friends about happenings in my family.

We've had some real gems lately...to wit:

In California, the Little Ones' grandpa was saying that he had a Sucker Tree in the backyard and you could pick suckers right off of it. David said "PaPa, you're lying!" and Aubri said " Yeah PaPa, you don't have a backyard!"

Big sister Emi, in an effort to dis David, said that he was "soooo undervocabularied".  I didn't bother checking on the this word as I did in the past.

While in a restroom in Flagstaff, I told Aubri that I wanted to pee in the nice clean restaurant instead of on the road and she said "That would be weird". (Yes, I guess that would be. )

After we returned from California, Aubri told us that her Grandpa Brian gave her an "adult book". When I asked her for more details, she said she'd have to show me. Upon further investigation, she could not find the alleged "adult book". (Not even under her mattress...We think he was trying to give her a grownup book...at least we hope!)

The other night Aubri was giggling and and said something about her GoGo's boobies. I asked her "What about her boobies?" and Aubri said they jiggle. I asked her when she noticed this and she said that they jiggled when GoGo was in the shower. (Apparently she noticed this when getting a new bandaid put on...)

Last night when Scott's parents were over to swim, David looked at his granddad and said "Your nipples are HUGE!"


Hah! They are so innocent in their expressions but it cracks us up!

21 July 2012

What I Missed



Eating Figs
Why so serious? Missed a visit from one of the Best Neighbors Ever!

Sweet Puppy

20 July 2012

Ready to Fly

This week has been an adventure for me.  Learning lots about the program and the people and the processes. I am suffering from Information Overload (but I'm an information junkie, so that's ok).

Along with meetings and work, I've been enjoying some Good Eats...

Banh Mi
Pork Roll and Pate Banh Mi from Lee's

My OC Dog from Jerry's Dogs

Wahoo's
I failed to capture my Fish Taco Combo with black beans and brown rice at Wahoo's

And I've enjoyed nature close by..

Bunnies on Campus
Bunnies on CSU Campus

Hummingbirds Loved This Plant
I watched hummingbirds feeding from this tree (and they are HARD to photograph)

Cal State Univ - Fullerton
Peaceful Fountain
But I am ready to get home...

Leaving California
soon...

18 July 2012

Already Gone

And I'm feelin' strong
I will sing this vict'ry song
'Cause I'm already gone
Yes, I'm already gone


I can hear the roar of highway traffic through my open window.  My mind and body are still trying to sort out which time zone we are in again...after that crazy, fun road trip to California and back last week.

It's not all bad being here though...
  • It's 30 degrees cooler here
  • I'm halfway through my next book 
  • I had most of a burger at In-N-Out last night
  • I had a nice long, soaking bath uninterrupted last night
  • I had a productive day at work (with another expected tomorrow)
  • I ate a delicious banh mi from Lee's Sandwiches (the pork roll & pate is delish!)
  • I worked out for the first time in a loooong time (and I enjoyed working up that sweat)
But I miss my family....

My Family at the Grand Canyon

15 July 2012

What's Growing On (Update)

Well, we just got back into town this evening and I had to check on the produce progress that happened while we were away all week.

Casper Pumpkin
Casper Pumpkin on July 6

Casper Pumpkin (looks a bit different)
Casper Pumpkin (July 14)

Surprise! Watermelon!
Watermelon on July 6th

Watermelon
Same Watermelon 8 Days Later (July 14)


Kabocha?
Kabocha? (July 6)

Kabocha
Yeah, looks like Kabocha (July 14)

And a few of the figs were overripe and on the ground but we got to eat 2 of them before dinner tonight and they were so yummy!


Figs!

Am happy to be home again, home again....

14 July 2012

Home Again, Home Again

We slept in this morning. I wanted to savor the peacefulness of our room for a bit longer...

View From Non-Skeevy Hotel

After we loaded up Beulah, we headed to The 40 and put some miles behind us before stopping for gas and breakfast at Sedilla. We ate our authentic breakfast burritos and quesadillas family-style outside the car in the nice NM breeze. Favorite road-side meal so far. Reminded me of our stop in LA eating shrimp boudin from a gas station.

Just What Mama Needed
Sweet nectar of the gods


We were in Santa Rosa by 11:30 and decided not to stop for lunch in favor of just getting home already. We opted to grab some quick snacks and only stop when someone absolutely couldn't hold it any longer (twice). We were greeted to a few short rain showers as we entered the panhandle of Oklahoma but nothing in our neighborhood.

After we lavished a good amount of affection on to the dog and unloaded the car, Emi and I got started on dinner (spinach quesadillas and chicken tacquitoes), I opened up my celebratory beer and we tested out the TJ's salsa.

Welcome Home
Verdict=Yummy

It is soooooo goooood to be home!

13 July 2012

Heading Back

We left Rancho Cucamonga at 5:15 PT and it was sprinkling. As we made our way to I-40 (referred to as "The 40" by Californians), we were treated to a nice soaking rain. The rain lasted until we hit Barstow an hour later. Barstow is the last bit of civilization for a while so we stopped for breakfast and gassed up at the same travel center we hit on the way to Rancho.

7:30AM Still raining in the desert and 68 degrees outside. So much better for traveling...40 degrees cooler!

8:00AM  No rain over but clouds still covering. 69 degrees and kids are still asleep. Score!

9:00AM bio break at Shell/DQ. Switch drivers.

We kept on trucking until we reached Flagstaff and then we drove around until something looked appealing for lunch...something that we don't have in Oklahoma. We ended up at CoCo's (my spicy shrimp salad was really good) and on the way out Emi mentioned her bag of Hi-Chews (something we were all introduced to at Costco) and we all started chanting 'Hi-chew! Hi-chew! Hi-chew!' until she gave us each one. Yes, it did seem a bit Griswoldy, but it wasn't the first time this trip.

3PM (4PM Okie time) twisted my ankle trying do the Eagles' 'Take it Easy' thing (see below). As we drove up to this corner, there was a man with his backpack adjusting his pack. I think he thought we were going to offer him a ride as we were exiting the car and he started walking off rather quickly. Wonder what he was up to...

Standin' on a Corner in Winslow, AZ
Standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ *
**Thanks to my co-worker Carl for this suggestion**

We rolled in to Albuquerque in the early evening and decided to wander around downtown in search of some authentic New Mexican cooking (with lots of green chiles). It was a fail for sure. The first place we stopped at looked like a questionable place to stop (bars across the windows) and it only got worse from there.

While downtown seemed nice and hip while the sun was up, it transformed into something less desirable as the sun went down. We saw people hustling to their covered/locked parking garages looking over their shoulders and then we saw a couple of guys get arrested. There were cops everywhere and we did see what appeared to be real live hobos. They are not as cute as my hobos!

Pretty Bikestand in Downtown Albuquerque
This bike stand spoke to me. It said 'Get on your bike again soon, woman!'
After wandering around and consulting a few applications that led us to closed restaurants, we decided we just needed sustenance and asked one of the nearby police officers for a recommendation. He pointed to Lindy's, a place that looked questionable earlier but that Emi was pushing for nonetheless, so we decided to just make do.

Bliss Building
This place couldn't be too bad, right?
Wrong! It was a mistake and a half. The food was flavorless except for the very hot (not complaining about that heat) chiles. There was no authentic New Mexican fare being served after 8pm, so we got diner food. Oh well, at least we had a nice hotel room to settle into for the evening. 

It was too late to swim when we got back so we turned on Parking Wars and eventually got to sleep....

12 July 2012

Back at the Rancho (Cucamonga)

Thursday was our last full day in California and we just hung out at GoGo's house swimming, playing, packing and visiting with Grandma Mary, Grandpa Brian, Aunt N. Micole and Uncle John.


041
Aubri loves her Aunt N. Micole

043
Ya know it's bad when GoGo has to discipline the boy...

Aunt N. Micole, Aunt Makenna and Aubri
Bathing beauties...Aubri's aunts were helping her to swim

It was neat to meet the Little Ones' great grandparents in person and hear about family history. We hope to organize another family reunion trip (perhaps camping at the Grand Canyon?) sometime in the near future...

11 July 2012

San Diego

We slept in a bit (we were still 2 hours ahead of the gang) and breathed in that fresh ocean air most of the morning.



Then we finally got our stuff together and ventured out for breakfast. We opted for twisted farm food at Hash House a gogo.

Hash House A Go Go
The kids' grandmother seemed to favor this restaurant...wonder why..GoGo!!

I started off with a drink that was too big to finish (even with help from the fam).

Iced Coconut Mocha
Iced Coconut Mocha (bigger than my head!) - can you see the wheels turning in David's head?

Before our food arrived we were treated to some mid-morning bershon by 2/3 of my kids. Bravo!


Double Bershon

Luckily GoGo and PaPa advised us to share an entree. I almost ordered the chicken and waffles but decided to go with a Farm Benedict off the brunch menu. Specifically,


Andy's sage fried chicken w/ fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream and scrambled eggs

Another View of Andy's Sage Fried Chicken

I'm not sure my whole family could have polished off this dish but we gave it the old college try... we did also have the yogurt and honey with berries to consume. (which we did)

Aftermath

For those of you following along from home, this is NOT a dish I feel I have to replicate at home. Of course now that I've typed that, it will probably show up on my blog again.... in the cold, cold days of winter as extreme comfort food.

Next up was Coronado Beach. We lucked out and got a couple of close spots and we were on the beach in no time.  I hadn't planned on actually swimming in the ocean so I didn't have my bathing suit on. Good thing too because my belleh was protruding big time with that twisted farm food.

So some differences between the beaches we are used to in Florida and the one we visited in California are:

1) the sand is not white on the beaches of California (at least not at Coronado Beach). Instead there was a golden glitter to the darker sand. No big difference I guess, but it seemed...made up...

Glittery Feet

and 2) the water is COLD!!!! I only waded up to my knees but I was shocked by the extreme temperature change.

Peace
David and PaPa (just sayin')

After a few hours of play and lots of rinsing off (which still wasn't enough I found out), we left the beach and headed to - not another museum or monument but - Costco!!! (a store we don't have in Oklahoma) We needed to gas up and see if they had any more of those awesome backpack chairs that PaPa and GoGo had at the beach. They did and we were so happy. What a score. I can't wait to use them at Winfield.

My New Favorite Concert/Camping Chair
Portable and has lots of pockets for your stuff....my kind of chair for sure!

After lunch and shopping at Costco, Scott, Emi and I stopped at Trader Joe's and loaded up on dark chocolate snacks and a case of wine to restock our reserves at home. We also picked up some doggie treats for Gracie.  So far the trip has been educational, inspirational, economical and fun. Tomorrow we get to meet the Little Ones' great grandparents!