Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's Thursday, Right?

Yes, almost positive it's Thursday. And, it's was a super busy one.  I got up, made sandwiches for school lunch, then drove to pick up nieces and nephew for drop offs at high school and middle school. When that was done, I drove husband to work, then dropped off my littlest passenger at the elementary school. I love doing this; later it was school dismissal pick up time, then off to pick up my husband from work. Tomorrow morning, little and I will make a special run to Starbucks for a kids' size and temp hot chocolate for my niece and a non-fat chai latte for me.

Another reason I'm so exhausted today is due to spending time with my sister. She wanted me to choose an outfit as a birthday gift.  We browsed Costco and Sam's club for the few large items she hopes to buy for her new appartment... futon, desk, chairs, bar stools, a grill, cookware, etc. I'm excited for her moving into a new place...a much larger place.  Had more fun after school pick ups, browsing a large furniture store in our area.  My sister even convinced me to go into Walmart with her.  Yeah... I left there in a grumpy mood.  I try my best to stay away from that place.  When done with that, it was time to pick up the husband, hurried home to start dinner, realized I had hardly eaten all day due to broken molar, so I inhaled pesto pasta and linguine with clam sauce.  It was so good.  I also continued my birthday celebration when I found a serving size red velvet cake that had been missing from yesterday's special dinner. It was delicious and worth the wait.

Presently, I am consumed by the need to sleep and will be heading off to bed as soon as I'm done with this blog post.  Time to log off from here. Hope you all have a great Friday and weekend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bright Spots

These always put a smile on my face as my vehicle approaches the driveway...

Neighbor's Ram Sculpture
Cool Orange Clinging Vines


Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Managed #4

Sorry, but not gonna happen... not this week.  This week the goal is to somehow manage to stretch every single dollar in my wallet. The good thing is that the pantry and fridge are still nicely stocked, so not a problem. Let's just call this week bean burrito-, salad-, and pasta week.

I have a little project that I'm working on and will hopefully be able to share it with family and friends soon.  So I'm excited about that.  Another fun thing is that my birthday is this week and I'm hoping I can at least pick up some sushi for lunch on Wednesday, and maybe have red velvet cake for dessert that night.  We'll just have to see. I'm just glad everyone in the house is feeling loads better; flu bug that hit a couple of weeks ago seems to finally have left the building... thank goodness. It was brutal.

And, speaking of building, I've re-dubbed The Place.  I shall now refer to it as The Patchy Place.  That's the only true way to describe it, because it seems to have been designed without much planning or care for detail. When we try to imagine what thoughts went behind this choice or that we all are stumped.  It's not our place and we could just leave it at that, but I do wish it were a bit more accommodating. So much so that for my birthday I've asked my husband to call the homeowner to ask if we could clear out a few more of her kitchen cabinets - the ones still stocked with food stuff she seems to have abandoned here. Weird.

Anyway, I'm just glad this place provides shelter, air conditioning, and enough space to keep the few belongings we've acquired since leaving Colorado almost one year ago, like the Christmas tree with all the new handcrafted ornaments that we made still up in the living room. Ho, Ho, Ho

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Managed #3

That's right, 2014, week three meal planning and grocery shopping for this family is complete... DONE!  Now, let's just hope recovery from last week's horribleness keeps going strong.  I had moments today, while out running errands, when I thought maybe I should have stayed in bed. I had three coughing fits that wore me out, and my respiratory system still seems compromised, but I have things to do, places to go, and little stinkers to drive to and from school starting again tomorrow. I also have a healthy supply of green tea, wildflower honey, Ricola lemon mint lozenges, baby formula Vicks, Kleenex boxes, and Purell.

So, aside from some small discomfort, I was productive today and am happy to proclaim "Momma is back in the business of feeding her brood."  And, I managed to keep grocery costs under budget, too. I even picked up all of mom's groceries (again, under budget), and plan on preparing some of her favorite healthy sauces, snacks, teas, and desserts tomorrow.

Biggest bonus today: waking up to clean kitchen counters, clean clothes, cleaned house... thank you family.

What's dinner this week, you ask?

Monday: Build your own burritos ~ flour tortillas, pinto beans, bacon, avocado, jack cheese, green chile salsa.

Tuesday: Pasta with tomato basil sauce, Italian sausage, caesar salad, and garlic bread.

Wednesday: Build your own tostada ~ crisp corn tortilla, refried beans, seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, avocado, black olives, shredded jack and cheddar cheese.

Thursday: Meatball, marinara, and provolone cheese sandwiches.

Friday: Rotisserie chicken, oven roasted potatoes, coleslaw.

What's dinner at your house?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Visitor

He ran through the kitchen sliding glass door screen of mom's studio apartment that I had just opened, as I turned my attention to Mom to say hello. He was whimpering excitedly, tail wagging... a burst of energy. He was clearly in unknown territory, and now he was in my mom's apartment; at my mom's feet. Mom is terrified of dogs, and this little guy ran directly toward her. She tried her best not to lose it. A bit excited now herself, mom welcomed this little bundle of energy. The sweet little dog had a white heart-shaped spot between his ears; she saw this as an encouraging sign... the dog was a bundle of love.

Now, to troubleshoot the situation. I checked for tags... none. I tried to calm him with food and water.. not having it. I took him outside in hopes that he belonged to a neighboring apartment tenant; maybe he escaped an open door... nope. Eventually, I walked the entire complex asking the few people I ran across if the little guy looked familiar.  No one had a clue. But on my second round, joy. From the street, I heard excited screams, followed by, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!." The woman who had been pet sitting Cookie, shouted, "There he is!" Cookie?  Anyway, Cookie was from out of town and dashed out the woman's car door at some point; she had been driving around frantically looking for him. She was in tears.  Both were overjoyed to be reunited. Now on his leash, still happy as can be, Cookie jumped right into the car, and away they went into the cool desert night.

A visitor... and a happy ending

Friday, January 17, 2014

Have you logged your food and fitness today?

Really, WebMD? I think you know whether or not I've logged my food and fitness plan for today... or yesterday... or day after that... and so on.  It's been weeks, no, more like months since I've logged any meal plans or fitness goals to the website.  This week here, it's been a brutal one. No real meals to speak of until tonight... Chinese - and, man I hope that wasn't a mistake. Looking good so far.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oh, Yesterday

Did you happen to catch yesterday's blog post? Menu Managed!?!  More like Menu Mangled! Yeah, go on... link over to it now. There's a pretty sweet selection of foods with which I would be preparing this week's meals - mostly dinners. Well, not so fast.  In fact, whoa Nelly, let's rein things in, we've a very ill wage-earner fighting a mighty cold and cough for the last few days. And, you know what that means when there are no sick-pay benefits from his receptionist position... two days lost income.  What else does that mean? Must make choices: Gas, doctor visit, medications OR food. *sigh*

So here's this week's grocery list re-do:

Ramen noodle soup
green onion
hard candy
Tylenol (assorted varieties)
fizzy beverages
orange juice

Good night.

Oh, and poptarts!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Managed #2

It's Monday, Monday, gotta get up on Monday!


Ugh.... It's Monday. Do I have to get up?  And, what about this "Menu Managed #2" madness.  Which menu? I see no menu.  Week's Groceries... nope, nada. If the object of the game is to be in no way ready to take on the week, then I am a winner... Achievement Unlocked, baby!  As I mentioned on Twitter last week, this is the "Year of the Slacker," right? Nailing it.

Nearly a year in "The Place" now, we have managed to make it "homey." It was especially nice while College Girl was here for a month. She's back at school on the opposite end of the country, and we're all here, trying to regain normalcy that includes, jobs, school, carpooling. Oh, and cuteness - that's Shadow- and Sombra-dogs' department. So, only glitch in the works is that everyone is home sick today.

Since I'm a bit behind, please, allow me here, to create this weeks grocery lists. Going to start with mom's because, well, that's of utmost importance. Mom is unable to do grocery shopping for herself, and if she could, she'd be buying herself loads of unauthorized foods. Who's the "authority" in this instance? My sister and I.  So... mom's list.

*Grandma Carmy's List

1% milk
low sodium V8
diet cranberry pomegranate juice
non-fat plain yogurt
100 calorie walnut & almond snack packs
low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks
raisin bran cereal
dried apricots
frozen fruit (cherries, blueberries, mango)
Dreamfield spaghetti
canola oil
ground turkey
beef medallions
Eggbeaters whites

*All set with fish & veggies for the week.

Carilo Grocery List:

2% Milk.
Evolve protein drink boxes (latte, chocolate)
cranberry juice
apple juice
orange juice
Better Oats raw oatmeal w/ flax
Fage non-fat yogurt
cold-pressed olive oil
wild rice
whole wheat bread
hoagie rolls
frozen fruit (mango, blueberries, cherries)
dried apricots
honeycrisp apples
cherry tomatoes
green onion
habanero monterey jack cheese
provolone cheese
muenster cheese
Italian sausage - hot
rotisserie chicken
ribs rack

Yes, that'll do. Now, if I can only make it to the grocery store tomorrow morning... and everybody in the house regains their appetite.  Otherwise, it's water, crackers, applesauce & Diet Coke city.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu Managed

Not really. Here it is first Monday of the new year and not a thought in my head what's dinner beyond tomorrow night's Fish & Chips, Onion Rings, and coleslaw dinner. Suggestion from the house occupants have been made, but before College Girl leaves, I'd like to fix meals by which to make her feel homesick while she's away. Sounds a bit underhanded, yes, but I'm going to miss her very much. She's the easy spirit among her tightly wound older brother and distant teenage sister. I do love them equally, but it's much easier for my middle child and myself to fall into fits of laughter the moment we set out on errands. Same with she and her sister.  I also relish in overhearing she and her brother having calm conversation about similar interest. I could not adore my children more.

Now, back to this week's menu.  I also should have worked on mom's meal plan over the weekend. Diabetes takes such work to manage, especially for my elderly mom, who has been caught more than once bring unacceptable foods into her house after she's returned from errands with her aide. I'll have to stop by her apartment tomorrow to check her refrigerator and pantry. Hope a gentle scolding will not be necessary on this visit. Following simple instructions which serve to keep her in top health seems to be a challenge for mom.  Old habits. I think I've done reasonably well in my efforts these last six months to prevent any further emergency hospital visits. And I'm happy I can help, especially since it had been years since I had last seen her; before her diabetes diagnosis.

One thing I was prepared for and looking forward to was getting back into the routine of driving my daughter and her cousins to and from school. It's been years since my vehicle required use of a booster seat; seeing it in the back seat make me instantly happy. I love that they all seemed okay with having to return to classes after two weeks off... I was never okay with that.

In other news, I was hoping to record a video comment to submit to a favorite You Tube channel. If I'm home early tomorrow I'll give it a go; it'll be a personal challenge, because I'm not a fan of myself recorded on video.  Last time I was satisfied with a recording was on a VHS tape on my wedding day... 22 years ago.

In closing this post these questions:  What challenges are you faced with with respect meal preparations for your own household and/or an elderly relative? I could use all the help I can get developing a system. Do you ever wonder how routine things in your life might negatively effect our planet?

Hope you've had a happy, productive Monday.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Food For Thought

No, I kid... just food. So, what was dinner tonight? We had roast beef sandwiches - Dietz & Watson thinly sliced London Broil, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, and rings of red onion, with mayo and a few dashes of D&W hoagie dressing on delicious rolls from Costco bakery. I usually make French dip sandwiches, but this time only my son opted for that. Crispy, crunchy Lay's Kettle Cooked potato chips rounded out the meal. Did I mention it was delicious?

So far, 2014 has gotten off to a good start with regard to family dinners. We welcomed in the year with a lovely salmon, roasted garlic seasoned wild rice, tossed greens topped with my version of Hoppin' John salad. I fixed sandwiches for dinner last night too, but hot - meatball, marinara, and mozzarella cheese on french rolls... yum.

Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow's dinner of chicken enchilada casserole, pinto beans, and Mexican-style rice. I forgot what I had in mind for Sunday; might take things easy with a nice pasta dish.

Yes, 2014 has gotten of to a very nice start... a huge improvement over the last few, very lean years. For me there is no better feeling than knowing I can feed my family well rounded meals for dinner.

Breakfast and lunch are pretty much every man and child for themselves. The way I see it, if you're taller than me, you can get your own food.

What delicious foods have you enjoyed so far this year?

~ Products and establishments mentioned in this blog post are not paid endorsements... I just like them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I look at myself in the mirror and it makes me happy that I don't look 50... I'm not; not until the end of the month.  I look early 40's maybe, and that's good enough for me.

So, what's new here?  Not much.  This blog still is not about diet, exercise, self-improvement, spirituality, how-to (I tried that on another blog), crafts, home decor, babies, toddlers, etc.

This blog is definitely not about fashion, style, or hair and make-up.

And, I doubt greatly that this blog will ever be about finance or politics.

I guess this blog is just a catch-all. It's where I jot down thoughts, ideas, happenings and events... yeah, stuff like that.

Now, speaking of make-up, mirrors, and reflection... now that we've been in this rental for almost a year, I've become accustomed to seeing my face. Not that we didn't have mirrors or windows in our former home, it's just that I never made much use of them for any purpose.  They were just there.  This house may be tiny, but there are loads of walls and doors on which one can see their reflection.  Now, when I catch a glimpse of the complete package, either here at home, or worse, while out and about, I'm not as happy with what I see.  The face is fine... but the body! Needs work. Lots. I'm working on that starting with lunges... you can do them anywhere.

I mentioned above what this blog is not about, but that doesn't mean I'll avoid those topics entirely.

Today, I'm liking my complexion thanks to a Mary Kay gift set that my sister gave me.  I love my Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, in raisin... been using it for years, I like my smile when I wear it. Sometimes, though, change is good. I recently switched the family's shower and shampoo products... loving Aveeno shampoo and leave-in conditioner; the dry shampoo leaves our hair very nice too. Nivea cleansers and lotions are leaving our skin clean and smooth, but mostly, smelling great... fresh. This makes me happy too.

So what are your plans for the start of 2014? I'll be searching for a place to get a decent haircut in my area, also hoping to get in to have an eye exam and new glasses in the near future. Here's to a new year. May it be filled with all things good, comforting, and satisfying.  That's not asking for to much, is it?

What are you welcoming into your life in 2014?

~ Products mentioned in this blog post are not paid endorsements... I just like them.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Two Minutes!

I have only two minutes left... to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2014... Let's make it a good one.

Best wishes.