Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh, Minnie, You're So Fine....

She's such a girlie girl...luvs to play dress up!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

WW Meals & Recipes for week of July 22

I lost another 2 pounds this week, for a total of 12 pounds in four weeks, and we had some pretty good meals this week, too!

Sunday 7/22:  Turkey burgers on whole wheat bread rounds.  These were just some frozen patties, so no recipe.

Monday, 7/23:  Cajun chicken pasta (use crock pot chicken from last week)  

Tuesday, 7/24:  Dijon & Herb Pork Chops (4 points each)  This was John's favorite of the whole week, and I really loved it too.  

Wednesday, 7/25:  Sausage stuffed zucchini boats  I used turkey brats for this one and added a few more veggies to fill them up a bit more.  Really good!

Thursday, 7/26:  Turkey and Black Bean Sloppy Joes  Real good, we actually ate two servings on our bun, since they are pretty low in points and we had a bunch of points to burn that evening.  I served them with a big salad.

Friday, 7/27:  Individual wheat pizzas with salad.  I used turkey pepperoni which is really low in points, and low fat mozzarella, and bought pre-made whole wheat pizza roiunds.  These crisped up pretty well, but you know how I feel about whole wheat products...somewhat cardboardyish....

Saturday  7/28: Stir fry shrimp over wheat pasta bows.  Errr....not so great.  Needed more spice or something.

The latest addition to our clan...

We're 13 guineas happier around here since Friday morning!  Our 2 day old little ones arrived in the mail at the local post office at about 5:30am.  I know because that's when the postman called me.. "huh..wha...?" They are as cute as can be!
KT counts the babies
I only ordered 10 from Ideal Hatchery in Cameron, Texas, but when they arrived there were 13 little ones in the box.  Bonus!!  We have 4 Pearls, 3 Lavenders, 3 White, and 3 Pied.  So far all seem very healthy and hearty.  It's going to be nice to add them to the 4 oldsters that we currently have left from our original 13 herd....should only take a few months before we can let them loose. ha!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Harvest July...part one!

Time to clear out the beds in anticipation of the fall garden.  I'm starting with these onions...I was going to over winter them, but I pulled a couple out to use and a few were starting to rot, so I decided to pull them now and get what I could from them.  I'm drying them on the fence for a day or so. There's a mix of red and yellow onions here.

Next came the leeks.  I'm very proud of these, even though they are about 1/4 of the size of some that I've seen in pictures.  But, I started these guys from SEED!  Wowzer!  The roots on these are amazingly huge. Next spring I'm starting them inside a lot earlier, maybe I'll get some bigger ones.  Now...what to do with them....
More later in the week!

Mom on Wednesday....

Not having a very good day, but she finally fell asleep. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More from 1962....

Here are a couple more photos that I found from 1962.
I love this one. There's dad sitting in a station wagon that we had at the time.  I'm surprised to see him in there with Mom, usually it was all of us waiting in the car while Dad puttered around the yard doing "one more thing." She started yelling at him about 10 minutes early as the years went on, knowing that he would putter around, saying "I'm in the car!"
This is my Aunt Bell (Isabell) with my cousin Margaret.  Not sure what the occasion was, but Aunt Bell has white gloves on!  Bell is not Margaret's mom, so this must have been something going on in Yoakum, although Bell didn't live there. I'm trying to remember where Bell lived...somewhere nearer to the coast. memory is going so fast.  I need to do these photos more often while I have a shred of memory left.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A couple of family pictures...

These were found in a stack labeled 1962.  The first one here is a photo of all of us kids and mom at a stop along the highway.  It appears to me to be a Spanish explorer, so maybe this was the trip we took to Florida one year.  This guy appears to have pantaloons on, but I can't read the plaque there on the front.  There's Mike, Mary, Danny and I on top, with Mom down on the ground.  It's stamped AUG 1962 on the back.
This second one is Mom with Mary under the hair dryer.  I'm sure she was getting one of Mom's famous home perms...geesh!  I have no memory of that couch? But dig that 1960's furniture! ha!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Busy Saturday!

Spent a busy day putting up some food and tending to the garden.
First, I pulled up the entire watermelon/pumpkin patch.  They were on the way out and a deer incursion helped me decide to just be done with it.  I got two small Amish Pie Pumpkins off the vine that were beginning to turn orange.  Aren't they cute?!
I had started to pull off all of the bean plants from inside the garden, but stopped about half way since these red runner beans started to bloom again.  I'm leaving them for a while for the hummingbirds, who have been swarming around these plants like neat to watch them jockey for position every morning when it's bearable out there.
John golfed in the morning, but when he came home he pulled up a couple of the peanut plants to see how they looked.  I think the soil was too heavy for them, there are a few small peanuts up close to the plant, and some have even started to break open and sprout.  I guess I waited too long to harvest them? or not? I'm really not sure, but it was a fun plant to watch grow.  It was just for grins anyway.  Monday morning I'm going to turn the entire bin over and dump them out and see what I can see.
Too hot outside, so I went in and made a batch of lemonaide soap!  It looks beautiful and I got to use the lemon oil that I made myself this time.  I hope they smell a bit more lemony this time.  They do smell marvelous right now.  We'll see after they cure for a few weeks.
Next I turned to the figs that we've harvested from the new fig tree that we put in this year.  Amazingly we had about 12 nice size figs.  John wanted fig preserves, so I added some raspberries to make enough of a batch and made up some quick refrigerator preserves.  They look good, but since I don't eat figs or raspberries, I let John do the taste testing.  He approved.
Quick check on the chickens - they were loving the bean plants that I gave them.  These guys are looking so cute with their fluffy butts!
Next I turned to the basil - the green one this time.  I'm making olive oil infused with basil and garlic.  Cut up a couple of cloves of garlic and cut and bruised about 3 cups of basil leaves.  Heated up the olive oil and then poured it over,  put the cap on and put it in the fridge (recipe says for about a week) and will shake it up a few times this week before I strain out the basil and garlic.  I wanted to use it immediately, it smelled so fantastic.  Yummmo!
That's enough, already!

WW meals & recipes for week of July 15, 2012

I lost 2 pounds more pounds this week, for a total of 10 pounds in three weeks.  Yeah!  I love the new WW points program, it's so easy to keep track, especially with all of the apps available to help you find out what each food item counts.  Wish they had the HEB brands in their database though.

Meals & Recipes for Week of 7/15/2012
Sunday 7/15:  Chicken sausage, zucchini and rice.  No recipe.  The HEB chicken sausage with spinach and feta is 6 points for 1.2 links.  You don't get much, but it sure is good!

Monday, 7/16: We had WW frozen meals with a salad.  Lazy me!

Tuesday, 7/17:  Grilled turkey cutlet with Swiss cheese on wheat bun. 9 points - delicious!

Wednesday, 7/18:  Baked mesquite & lime tilapia with rice and brussell sprouts. No recipe and only 5 points!

Thursday, 7/19: I filled the crock pot with chicken breasts, minced garlic and lemon pepper, and cooked it on low all day.  Delicious, tender, and garlicky!  Served with yellow squash and a salad.  A big plus+ is that I have about 4 more meals to put in the freezer and use in other recipes. 

Friday, 7/20: John's baseball night.  I spent the day making a few recipes to have made up.  For breakfasts, I made:
Basil & Red Pepper Frittata (This says 6 servings, but I divided into 3 servings to make it more substantial, which came to 5 points each) and is a delicious breakfast! 
Turkey Muffins (2 points per muffin) - these came out like perfect little moist turkey meatloaves.  Quite good!

Saturday, 7/21:  Beef Stuffed Cabbage Casserole (w/o cheese) - 5 points per serving.  This recipe makes 10 servings, so I was able to put 8 more meals in the freezer.  

Friday, July 20, 2012


The flowers on the cotton plants have started to drop off, replaced by these cotton boles.  I'm so impressed by these beautiful plants -- they are loving the heat.  Of course, with a name like Mississippi Brown Cotton, they'd better!  Can't wait to see how they look once they burst.

Here's how the husk from the tomatillos look after being left outside to weather for about two weeks.  Beautiful spiderweb like shells, they look like they've been weaved from gold.  I'm saving these for some crafting in the fall.


Here's a picture of Mom that I took on Wednesday.  Her hair had been pulled up on top of her head, I kind of liked it.  I really loved that someone took the time to actually care for her hair more than just running a comb through it.  I showed me that her caregiver actually looked at her and wanted her to look her best.  Thank you to whomever that was.
I read an article that really had me soul searching recently.  It was run in our local paper, the San Antonio Express-News in June, but I believe it was originally published here, at least that's where I found it online.  I know that I have spent countless hours wondering what I could have done differently from the beginning of my parents failing health and aging. I know that we all have, my brothers and sister.  We were caught unprepared. We were so used to them being the strong people that they had always been, making their own decisions and caring for themselves.  Private people.  I know I felt like I was stepping on their toes when we first had to start making some decisions for them.
In our reluctance to over-step, Mom had two car accidents, and Dad was slowly over-taken by his body failing him.  Their lives just crumbled around them.  In the middle of it all, their home was completely flooded, and they had to start all over.  It seemed as though they were being challenged on all sides.
Do we do enough now for Mom?
What more could we do?
When we spend time with her, she is mostly in her own little world, somewhere in her head, having a conversation with ghosts.  It's sad, and at times it's comforting.  Whatever that life is, it must be better then knowing she's in a nursing home, watching a television set she can't see.  Sometimes she laughs (along with someone?)  Sometimes she's tense and anxious, clenching her blanket and clothing with tight fingers, to the point of wanting to hold her and sooth away whatever fears and anxiety she is feeling.
What happened in her past that conjures up these frightening memories?  Whatever it was, she never shared it with us.
Sometimes when I leave there, I'm running as fast as I can, I feel so helpless.
Mostly she sleeps, blessedly.
On very rare occasions, she's there in the room with me.
Very rare.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What I'm Reading --- As the World Dies trilogy

Yes, I'm back to zombies...but this series is so addictive!! I'm loving it.  I read the first book about two months ago and just had to get the other two.  The author, Rhiannon Frater, self-published the first book online, The First Days.  It was so successful, she was picked up by a publisher.
It's about the zombie apocalypse, of course, and how two women survive the first day and beyond, making their way through a series of encounters with both the living and the dead, to a small town in Texas (why are zombie books all based in Texas?)  One is a battered wife who's children all succumbed to their zombie father (the baby zombie fingers reaching for her under the door was a chilling beginning to this book), and the other is a  big time lesbian lawyer (the writer focuses on lots of lifestyles in her books, so I mention it only because she does.  It becomes a big part of her story telling style.)

Anyway, the town has basically boarded itself up to protect themselves from the horde using construction materials from a company that was in town building a hotel had with them. What I enjoy about her writing is that she develops the characters so that you feel like you know them, and care about what happens to them. The second book, Fighting to Survive, continues the story of how this band of people continue to build their fort, taking over the hotel and bringing in survivors from around the countryside.  They begin to get attacked not only by the undead, but by gangs of lawless humans who are terrorizing the area.

I just got the final book, Siege, but haven't read it yet.  The fort becomes too tempting to the remaining military, it appears.  Should be interesting to see who survives this final assault and what kind of world they are left with.

The writer does tend to gloss over some areas that would definitely be a problem in a zombie world.  For some reason, they continue to get electricity and water.  I'm a little skeptical that these would not be a problem.  They eat food like there's an endless supply, which I think would be a mistake.  They scout the area and pick up supplies, but don't mention a plan for when those supplies eventually run out.  There is no mention of animals other then dogs.   But since this is an imaginary world, I guess you can build it the way you want to!
Thumbs up for this series!  I hope the writer will continue and start a new one.

WW meals & recipes for week of July 8, 2012

I lost 2 pounds this week! So total of 8 pounds in two weeks.  So far, so good. They took another point away from me this week, so I get 29 points a day.  No problem, I was having trouble using them all each day anyway.
Here is the list of meals that we had this week.

Meals & Recipes for Week of 7/8/2012
Sunday 7/8:  Stir Fry Beef over rice - no recipe, I just counted the beef and olive oil that I used, the rest was all vegetables, served over 1/2 cup of rice.  Easy, peasy.

Monday, 7/9: Loaded Turkey Santa Fe Baked potato skins - 2 points each
Very, very good.  This recipe made 14 loaded potatoes - you can eat as many of these as you have points to use up.  Loved it.  I'm definitely keeping this one.

Tuesday 7/10: Baked Lemon Garlic Tilapia - 5 points
Good and made a couple of extra meals to freeze.

Wednesday 7/11:  Pei Wei take out (Tofu/Veg dish) - 9 points
I'm not wild about the way Pei Wei cuts their tofu in long strips.  I much prefer the cubed cut that takes on the taste of the dish more.  I'm pretty sure we won't have this again.  To get the 9 point version, I had to order with brown rice, which I'm not a big fan of either.  Oh well, at least I didn't have to cook today!

Thursday  7/12:  Chicken Panini with Provolone - 9 points
I used fresh spinach instead of the arugula, which I'm not a fan of.  This was EXCELLENT!  I bought a loaf of ciabatta bread and used 1/7th of it for each serving.  The points value was correct that way, then I just froze the rest of the loaf to use another time.  I don't have a panini press (does anyone really have one of those?) so I just used two fry pans to press the sandwich.  Yummmm!  John liked it too!

Friday  7/13:  John's ball game night - quick spaghetti with ground beef, wheat spaghetti noodles.  I found that the organic sauce that I use is only 1 point for 1/2 cup of sauce.  Nice!

Saturday  7/14:  I had planned to make a vegetarian chili but we went to the movies (I took my rice cakes to snack on there.  I recommend the Quaker "Quakes Rice Snacks, Sweet Chili ones.  You get 18 pieces for only 4 points and they are tasty!)  We ended up eating out, grilled tilapia, wide rice and steamed vegetables at the Islamorada Restaurant at the Bass Pro Shop.

Movie Review --- The Amazing Spiderman

I only went to see this movie because John wanted to see it.  I swore that I wouldn't see another Spider Man movie after the last one, Spider Man 3, which was not very good.  It was packed with action, but lacked any focus on the people -- no one in the movie was very sympathetic and I didn't really care if any of them were killed or not, including Spidey.  In other words,  the entire series was way overdone and I was done with it.

But I have to say I was surprised.  They did a much better job with this re-tread.  They brought them back to high school and started over, and the actors were much better matched.  There was a focus on his parents and what happened to them, his search to find out, and how he became this character.  The actor who played him, Andrew Garfield (never heard of him before), was a good match, he played a goofy high-schooler very well.

Of course, with any movie based on a comic book series, most of what happens is totally unbelievable, and that's the case here.  If scientific institutions were run like the one shown here, with lax security and the ability to wonder into sensitive labs at will, picking up biological material willy-nilly, we'd have all come down with terrible diseases by now. High school intern students with lab IDs allowed to come into the institute in the middle of the night taking multi-million dollar equipment...hmmm...not so much.  But if you can suspend your brain and just enjoy it for the entertainment value, this wasn't a bad movie.

I don't remember reading the Spiderman comics much, but I don't remember him whipping his mask off all the time like this Spidey did.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

OMG!! Zombies, Season 3!

I   C A N   N O T   W A I T!!! October 14th!!

Love how Merle shows up there at the end! Ha ha ha! Redneck humor to ensue!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tomatoes, tomatillos, oh my!

Good grief, where did this week go?  I just turned around and it's Friday already.  Whew!  And I haven't posted in days.  Of course, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy around here, just too disorganized to sit down and get it done.
Today KT and I canned tomatillo and tomato salsa!  I think it's going to be delicious -- I tried it out before the water bath and I thought it was (and 0 points on WW!  yea!)

Don't you just love the look of tomatillos?  I just love those papery husks on them, and KT really enjoys pealing them off for me. We made 6 pints.
The garden has been so wet due to the beautiful, gorgeous and oh-so wonderful rain that God has blessed us with this week.  So nice - there's a physical reaction of relief when we get rain here now, it's been so sparse the last few weeks.  But with the wet ground, it's kept us away.
Today KT and I did manage to get in there and pick a few tomatoes and other things, but not for very long.  It was hot and steamy.
Some kind of animal had been in there this week and broke off one of my tomato plants (the Cherokee) and tried to bite into one of the melons.  Arghhh! No!  I had to put a bag around the melon to make sure that it was left alone.  John thinks it's probably a raccoon.
The small gourds just keep adding up!
Squash blossom
The bean plants are dying...(I may have helped them along...full disclosure)
We found a huge bug!  He was dead when we found him, I promise.
The morning glories on the front of the potting shed have really spread!
The grapes are still looking good -- year one has been  okay.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Sun" Dried tomatoes....

Here's how the tomatoes turned out in the dehydrator.  I tasted them and they are delicious.  I shake on some salt before turning on the dehydrator (I use Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Seasoning Salt -- a really nice mix of salt with garlic and onion and a few other spices -- really great!)  It seems to give them the kick they need.
I know that most recipes for drying tomatoes call for you to skin them and take out the seeds.  I don't.  I actually think they are fine just the way they are without all of that prep.  I guess it's personal preference, but I think its a lot of work for no reason.  They come out a bit pliable, not totally dry and brittle.  I am storing them in the fridge in a baggie, removing as much air as I can.
 These are all from my Juliette tomato plant.  She is a super producer!

My morning garden companions....

Three of cats just love to go out to the garden with me, no matter what time of day.  They are such characters. Mouse follows me from bed to bed, but sure doesn't care to have her picture taken.
Punky will come out and immediately find a comfortable spot to lay out.

Paulie is here, but was camera shy, and RedMan, he don't play.  He's up at the house laying on the porch in the shade, appropriate for an old man his age!
Carlie, the dog, comes out too, but she lays out under the shade in the old herb garden to keep an eye on all of us, including the chickens.  She has appointed herself as the chicken gardian and she takes it pretty seriously.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In memory....

Ashley and JR's dog, Winston, passed yesterday.  I've been thinking about him today, and remembering the times we had with him.  He was possibly the sweetest dog I've ever seen, just so accepting of every place and everyone, including Punky, our cat, who took exception to him being in the house when he was visiting.  Winston never took up the challenge, he just moved around the cat as if she wasn't even there.  His nose was unerring -- he could find any food on the floor without any trouble.  We'll miss you, Winston. 
This was Winston's favorite pose.
And this one....
And even more sleeping! 

One less thing to worry about....

My little Netbook computer got a green light on it's check up.  One less thing to worry about.  Have you checked yours?

Week One Weigh In!

Hip, hip, hooray!!

A new visitor to our bird feeders....

Look who was at the bird feeder this morning when I started outside to let the chickens out this morning!  He didn't even flinch when I opened the back door...just looked at me for a minute and went back to chomping on the feed that falls to the ground.  I went back in for the phone to take a picture and he was still there, he didn't move until I started down the stairs.