Monday, May 30, 2022

It's a beautiful morning

It is a beautiful early morning here today so I snapped a few pictures from the patio area of our back yard. I'm still in my PJ's so the flowers in the front will be another post.  Neighbors don't need to see me right now.  

This is my 4 year old rosemary that we planted in the ground last spring.  She survived her first winter and seems to be doing pretty well.  

These beauties were about 6 inches tall last summer.  They came back with a vengeance.

This is my new lavender plant.  I can't wait for it to spread its wings and grow.

Betty, these are the chairs that I bought from Target.  They are very sturdy and very comfortable because of the thick padding.  They lay almost all the way back.

I have a few things to do around the house today and  I need a mani, pedi before the work week starts tomorrow.   I'm making Spo's macaroni salad, coleslaw, deviled eggs and grilled chicken wings and kabobs for dinner today.

I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying good weather wherever you are.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: When he was no longer young, the great naturalist John Burroughs wrote, "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." I quite agree.  Time is the one resource that as I get older I feel I do not have enough of.  I want to continue to make enjoying every single minute one of my top priorities.

Where I've been: Friday we headed out of town to do our grocery shopping.  Saturday we had a wonderful lunch at Firefly Grill. Other than that I've been at home mostly outside.  The weather has been so nice.  Sunny and warm but with low humidity and a cool breeze. Our gardens and flowers are all looking so good.

Where I'm going: I'm spending my last two days of my mini vacation right here at home which is exactly where I want to be. 

What I'm reading: I finished reading The Lake of Dead Languages and I have to say I enjoyed it as much as I remember when I first read it.  It's a very intriguing story and I did not remember how it ended and I was pleasantly surprised.  I will choose another book today to take outside and start. 

What I'm listening to: Peace and quiet.  We technically live in town but I'm amazed at how quiet and peaceful our backyard always is.  Sometimes I wish we wouldn't have gotten such a big lot but it really is my favorite place and it's worth all the work.

What I'm eating:

BIG salad and roll up X2 one with chicken one without

Beef Empanadas-I love making these and will share the recipe next week.  They're surprisingly easy.

Chicken, mashed potatoes and corn
At Firefly we shared the BEST carne asada tacos I've ever had.

The big guy had fish and chips that he said was delicious and I had an amazing Philly Cheese steak sandwich. 

Who needs a good slap: We all know there are SO many people that need a good slap right now I'm just going to leave this one blank this week.

What I'm planning: The end of July we will be going to Chicago for a TKD celebration.  The big guy is receiving his 9th degree black belt and I couldn't be more happy for him. He started his TKD journey while he was stationed in Korea for four years while in the Army and it has become a life long passion of his.  This is so well deserved and I'm looking forward to our trip.

What's making me smile: The big guy is such a wonderful friend and husband and always makes me feel so loved.  I also received so many texts, messages and cards from friends this week it reminded me just how blessed I really am.  The doctor that is moving brought me a bottle of wine and a handwritten note thanking me and ended saying he considered me family.  I had so many smiles this week.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chapter 55

Yesterday was the beginning of Chapter 55 for me.  In the morning I decided to go out and do a little shopping.  I usually do most of my shopping now with the big guy which I do enjoy but sometimes it's fun to go out on your own.  I started at Menards where I needed to get a large bag of potting soil and a few more bags of garden soil.  Of course six new perennials jumped in to my cart.  Funny how that always happens

After that I went to find a couple new summer tops at Carls which is a local family owned shop. I was pleased to find really cute ones so I should be set for the summer with these additions and what I already have.

I came home and worked in the yard for a while.  Of course I didn't get enough garden soil so the big guy will pick that up this morning and then I can finish the new corner flower bed sometime today if the rain holds out.

The rest of the day I read, played a few hands of cards with the big guy and just puttered around the house in a relaxed way.  It was a really nice day. Thinking back on chapter 54, all and all it was a good year.  I have a lot to be thankful for and I am.

I always make a to do list on my birthday of things I want to focus on in the coming year.  Not projects like I do on my New Years list but things that will bring me joy and hopefully make me a better person.  In reviewing last years list I am pretty happy with how I did. I am going to keep this same list for this year because it really keeps me focused on how I want to live each day and what is most important to me.

1. Make 12 new to me recipes Done

2. Make 12 desserts (this big guy will love this one) Done

3. Do 12 random acts of kindness (strangers) Done

4. Do 12 random acts of kindness (friends) Done

5. Do 12 random acts of kindness (family) Done

6. Read 12 books (I used to triple this amount but lately haven't come close) I read 20

7. 12 day trips with the big guy We did 8

8. Continue to be grateful every single day Done

9. Continue to stay mindful of each moment Done

10.Continue to pay attention to the little things in each day Done

I made steak, parmesan butter pasta and a salad for dinner along with a slice of the bread I made.  It was delicious. So all and all it was a wonderful start to this next chapter.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Who doesn't have the weight of the world on their mind right now?  There is so much going on everywhere it is hard to not think about it all and wonder how this is all going to work out. Talking to a coworker from Ethiopia and hearing the horror going on there right now is heartbreaking.  I've been having a lot of bad dreams this week and I must have tossed and turned a lot last night because I woke up feeling like I have been hit by a truck.  

Where I've been: Work, home and one dinner out are the only places I've been this week.

Where I'm going: We are supposed to meet a large group tonight at Agave for a going away dinner but I'm rethinking this due to the Covid numbers rising in our area again.  Next Saturday we do have a reservation at Firefly but that will just be the two of us. 

What I'm watching: I watched the movie Dumplin this week.  I watched it when it first came out in 2018 and it is such a cute movie I decided to watch it again.  I was not disappointed.  It's the kind of feel good movie that I needed this week.

What I'm reading: I'm still reading The Lake of Dead Languages along with the Summer issue of Mary Janes Farm.

What I'm listening to: I listened to the classics of Elton John this week while doing housework. 

What I'm eating:

The non gmo corn on the cob from Florida is in season so we enjoyed that a few times this week. I froze the rest for future dinners.
Lamb burgers, oven fries and spicey coleslaw

BIG salad and cheese roll up
Italian chicken sausage, mac and cheese and corn on the cob
Coho salmon and salad
Dinner out at one of the local Mexican places.  Their chicken fajita taco salad is SO good.
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.

Who needs a good slap: There are so many people out there that need a good throat punch I can't narrow it down this week to any one particular person or group.

What I'm planning: I'm only working Monday and Tuesday this week giving me 6 glorious days off.  I have a lot to get done in those two days but it will be worth it.

What's making me smile: One of the doctors that has been here for the last seven years is leaving and moving his family to Florida so Saturday I made chicken shawarma, rice, hummus, naan and a Hawaiin pineapple cake for the group. We have become like family over the years and I'm very sad to see his family leave but I realized how much I have learned from him over the years that will carry on with me for the rest of my life and that makes me smile.

I hope everyone is staying safe and doing well.  Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

Anyone that's been reading for a while knows how much I love to use egg roll wrappers.  I did a search on my blog and I've shared 7 different ways to use them so far.  The possibilities are endless.  I always make a large batch because they freeze and reheat so well for lunches or dinners down the road.  This recipe made 20 egg rolls but you can always cut the recipe in half if you don't want that many.


1 pound ground beef

1 onion diced

1 Cup diced dill pickles

1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook ground beef and a little salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool a little bit while you dice and shred the remaining ingredients.

On an eggroll wrapper add about 2 tablespoons of beef, a little onion, a little diced pickle and some cheese.  Roll up and pan or deep fry until golden brown.

Dipping sauce:

2 tablespoons of mayo

1 tablespoon of ketchup

1 teaspoon of pickle juice along with a little of the diced pickles

Sunday, May 15, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind: Dehydrating.  The Ninja 13 in 1 that I bought back in December has a dehydrating option so I'm planning on using it for a lot of veggies this summer saving room in the freezer.  Not having large bags of peppers alone will free up a lot of space.  I also want to grow a lot more basil this year.  I just used up the last of the pesto from last years crop so I want to make sure I freeze a little more this year than last.

Where I've been: Yesterday we did a bit of shopping.  Stopped at Fresh Market Time, Barnes and Noble and Bed Bath and Beyond.  One of the big guys cousins from Florida is retired Army and now works for the government and comes to this area a couple of times a year for work.  The last time he was here was 2019 before everything shut down so it was nice to see him after 3 long years and enjoy another great meal at Drakes.

Where I'm going: No plans this week so I'm not sure where I'll end up.

What I'm watching: While cleaning the kitchen one night this week I watched a few of the old 1970's sitcoms.  I remember enjoying One Day At A Time but for some reason I never cared for the Mom on the show.  I guess some things never change because I still don't.

What I'm reading: I finished The Answer Is by Alex Trebek and really enjoyed it.  I first read The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman when it came out in 2002.  I remember I loved the book and recommended it to others.  Now 20 years later I don't remember much about the book so I've decided to re read to see if I still enjoy as much as I did then.

What I'm listening to: One house over from us has a number of parrots and other large birds.  They set up a large cage on their back patio during the summer for them.  It's nice to walk out the back door and hear "Pretty lady".  lol

What I'm eating: 

Chili and cornbread
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and salad
Big Salad
Cheeseburger egg rolls and oven fries  I will do a post on these because OMG they are delicious.
Chicken pesto fettuccine
Grits, egg and toast
Tonight is lamb kabobs 

Who needs a good slap: The shooter that killed 10 people yesterday in Buffalo.  I can't even begin to understand how someone has that much hatred in their soul.

What I'm planning: The cousin mentioned above is coming back to the area in September.  He plans on bringing his wife so we're going to have them come here and we'll enjoy a nice lunch together.  That is if Covid doesn't rear its ugly head again.

What's making me smile: A couple of weeks ago I ordered two new lounge chairs for the patio from Target.  I tried them out and I'm really impressed with the quality and how comfortable they are.  I can see many books being read in that chair this summer.

I hope everyone is staying safe, enjoying good weather and making memories as you go along.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Stove top Four Cheese mac and cheese

2 uncooked cups of elbow, shells or favorite pasta to use in mac and cheese 

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Black Pepper to taste

1 Cup milk (I always use whole milk but others will work)

1/2 Cup half and half or cream or room temperature cream cheese (all work well)

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Cup cheddar cheese (Shredded)

1/4 Cup Gouda (Shredded)

1/4 Cup Monterey Jack (Shredded)

2 Tablespoons of Parmesan

Cook pasta, drain and set aside.

In a large pan, melt butter add flour salt and pepper.  Whisk together until the color of sand.  Approximately 3-4 minutes.

Whisk in milk and cream and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly then reduce the heat and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Sir constantly to prevent the sauce from sticking.  

Remove from heat and add Dijon, Worcestershire and cheeses.  Add pasta and combine.

Serve hot.  Makes 4 servings.


Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere, Brie, Gouda, Fontina, Monterey Jack and goat cheese all work well.  Pick your favorites.  Also, do not use pre shredded cheeses.  They do not melt well due to the coating on them.

You can spice this up or down anyway that suites your tastes.  I've added hot sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.  I've used a dash of red pepper flakes.  You can also add dry mustard instead of Dijon.  This is a very forgiving recipe as long as you get the roux correct and add the 1 1/2 cups of dairy.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

My Weekly W's

What's top of my mind:  It's a jumbled mess up there so we're skipping this one this week.

Where I've been: I did make one trip to Kroger but other than that I've been at home or work. The weather has been gorgeous, so I have spent a lot of time outside which is wonderful.

Where I'm going: I will be working all week and then next weekend we are going to do some shopping and have a lunch date. 

What I'm watching: The sunrises.  This week every sunrise has been amazing.  I only live a mile from work but that short drive this time of year is gorgeous.

What I'm reading: I finished Finding Betty Crocker.  It was interesting but infuriating at the same time. To tell women they need to clean the house, make a delicious dinner and fix yourself up or you'll lose your husband is just mind boggling to me. I started The Answer Is by Alex Trebek yesterday.  So far it is a really good read.

What I'm listening to:  I enjoy not having the heat or AC on and the windows open.  I can hear all the birds every morning and every evening and it brings a peaceful calm to my days. 

What I'm eating:  Thai chicken and veggies over rice.  This year's snow peas have been delicious!

Bucatini pasta, portabella, onion and pepper sauce with a salad and garlic bread

Big salad x 2

We had lunch catered Wednesday at work and enjoyed a delicious Cinco de Mayo meal from Agave.  Then for dinner I made steak fajitas, rice and chips and salsa.  

Chicken and veggies with 4 cheese mac. I'll share the recipe later this week.  This is a good mac and cheese.

Who needs a good slap: A healthcare organization that creates their own insurance company, sells it to their employees and then adds the caveat that you have to use their physicians and facilities only. This isn't an out of network reduction, this is a flat out cannot go out of network. This was implemented in January and we are loosing a LOT of good employees and physicians because of it. I had a long talk with someone that has worked there for 38 years and recently survived cancer.  We were both in tears by the end of our talk.  My heart just broke for her.  I know some may say well at least you have insurance.  Possibly but taking our rights away to see who we choose and being able to use facilities with better prices is a dictatorship.  

What I'm planning: I've planned my Birthday trip to Louisville and now I'm on to planning a BBQ for the big guys Birthday in July.  

What's making me smile: This article really made me smile.  Both sides of my family always ate at the dining room table and I made that a rule when I started my own home so I know how the author feels.  The food is important but the people at the table and the memories are what make it special.  How a Single Mom Conquered Dinner, One Pound of Hamburger at a Time (

Friday, May 6, 2022

Scary times ahead?

Just yesterday I was reading this post and the comments about the price of butter.  How Much Are You Paying For A Pound Of Butter These Days? - One Hundred Dollars a Month  There are some pretty high prices across the country.

Butter was on sale at Kroger this morning for 2.88 a pound.  I already have 15 pounds in the freezer and 2 in the fridge but for this price plus the two .75 cent coupons I had I decided to get a few more.  A store worker was loading all of the unsalted butter into crates.  She told me she had an online order for 300 pounds. Interesting!  I picked up 8 and went on.

On the way home I kept thinking who would buy 300 pounds of butter?  We have a few small bakeries in the area and I wondered if it was one of them.  The prices for buying from wholesale companies  for restaurants and bakeries have sky rocketed since the end of 2020.  A lot of items are double or even triple what they were.  These businesses run on such a tight profit margin I don't blame them if they are watching sales and buying from the stores instead. I wondered if this is one more reason for some of the shortages on the shelves.  Whether it was a local business or someone really worried about a butter shortage I'm sure there are going to be a lot of unhappy people with the empty butter case.

Honestly I know there are a lot of reasons for shortages at the store besides businesses starting to shop there. Weather related crop failures, farmers giving up the farms because it is just too expensive, increases in fertilizer and fuel.  Shortages of workers in almost every field.  It's almost like a perfect storm.  

I'm not a worrier by nature and I've said many times I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  Worrying doesn't solve anything and we have no idea what the future holds.  I do have to say though the rapidly increasing prices of everything is a bit scary. I know butter is something you can live without I'm just using this as an example. I can't imagine how people on lower incomes and/or larger families are handling this. How will they handle it if it continues to get worse?  I've seen inflation and rising prices for one reason or another in my lifetime but I've never seen this much of an increase and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

Are you a little worried about the increasing prices on everything?  

Sunday, May 1, 2022

My Weekly W's

Happy May!!  I can't believe we are entering the fifth month of 2022.  It seems like I was just enjoying my winter hibernation. The weather has been gorgeous this past week.  I even sat outside reading a couple of days.  This week is filled with rain chances but it is what is as my Mom always says.

What's top of my mind: Living in the moment and paying attention to all of the joys big and small.  I'm pretty good at this but I need to be better.  Sometimes my mind looks to the future instead of the moment.  I'm as prepared for the future as I can be and no one knows what the future will bring anyway so I want to enjoy right now because honestly that is all we have.

Where I've been: Other than work and home the only place I went this week was the library.  I was happy to see the stairway was opened back up because that 100 plus year old elevator is scary.

Where I'm going: I've taken quite a few 3 and 4 day weekends lately and this week I'm working M-F.  So we'll see how I feel by Friday.  Next weekend we'll need to run errands but other than that I'll be home.

What I'm watching: We have been watching Master Chef Kids and it is just amazing what some of these kids can do in the kitchen.

What I'm reading: Finding Betty Crocker by Susan Marks.  It's amazing to me that all the way back to the early 1900's corporations were a large part of directing the course of American culture.

What I'm listening to: Nothing much.  I'm still enjoying the quiet as much as I can.

What I'm eating: 
Left over egg rolls from the freezer and rice

Steak, baked potato and salad

Big Salad x 2
Chicken sandwich, oven fries and cabbage slaw

Pizza with spicy chicken sausage, red onion, pepper and mushroom.  SO good.

Who needs a good slap: The neighbor that lives behind us.  They have two dogs and he was out picking up the poo before he mowed.  I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes and saw him pick up quite a bit and chuck it over the fence into his next door neighbors yard.  NOT cool at all.  I'm just thankful there is 6 feet between his back fence and ours because it would get ugly if I caught him throwing it in our yard.  I always knew he was shady and this confirmed it.

What I'm planning: I've decided on Louisville Kentucky for my Birthday get away.  I love it there and we always have a good time each time we go.  

What's making me smile: Wednesday was Administrative Assistant Day and I was given a lovely card and two beautiful flower arrangements from the group.  They really do show their appreciation often and I'm very lucky to work with such an amazing group of people.  They shield me from most of the BS with administration and corporate and for that I am thankful.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a productive week.