Monday, October 15, 2018

Just another weekend update.

Last I left you, I was enjoying an extremely rainy Thursday at home. I came out of my warm and cozy cocoon around 2:40 to pick up the kids.  I normally leave the house around 2:50 but wanted to leave a little early because it was raining really hard and I noticed that the wind was really picking up.

I was not prepared for what I went through to get to school.  Many of the area school systems had closed on Thursday ahead of the hurricane.  We just went through this with Florence and got nothing but rain but the school systems always err on the side of caution.  Our school (and the public school system it normally follows for weather closings) did not close.  I thought nothing of it until I was actually driving through that weather to pick up the kids.

I always take the back roads to school.  It's a little longer but much more peaceful and no highways.  I was second guessing myself as I was driving by trees that had fallen on the side of the roads, driving over the occasional  power line across the road (in my defense the car in front of me drove over it as well and there's still one down right near my house that people are still driving over) and seeing so many flooded out streams and creeks.

I thought to myself that I should have taken the highway and could have avoided all of that but after speaking to someone who did take the highway home, I'm glad I didn't.  Her normal 30 minute drive from school took her AN HOUR AND A HALF! Traffic lights were out, portions of roads were closed due to flooding and in general it was a mess!

I however managed to make it home safely with the kids because thankful the wind had finally started to die down on our ride home and the rain was beginning to slack off as well.

Sarah's swim practice was cancelled.  Dan and Peter's camping trip was cancelled because one of the leaders owns a farm and his farm suffered a lot of damage and another leader was called in to work over the weekend thanks to all the issues the storm caused.

There are people in this area that are still without power.  Thankfully we never lost power and basically resumed life as normal on Friday.  My kids went to school on a two hour delay on Friday but all the rest of the area schools were out.  Many of the schools had no power and many of the area roads were flooded.

We had ten days of dire warning prior to Florence and got nothing more than some heavy rains.  We go two days of hearing that Michael was going to hit Florida and we got pounded here.  It was crazy!

We went out to dinner on Saturday night and noticed large tables of burly men and realized that they were power line workers that had been called in from other areas to help restore all of the power.

Since Dan and Peter didn't go camping, they stayed home on Saturday and did yard work.  Sarah and I helped the Girl Scouts at a work day at the church where her meetings are held.  After that we got Sarah's flu shot, grabbed some Chick-Fil-A and then ran errands.  We took Cheyanne with us and we had a nice day.  Peter and Dan were annoyed when they found out we had Chick-Fil-A and they had leftovers at home.  Did they really think we were going to be gone ALL day and not eat something?  They should know me better than that!

Sunday was a lovely day.  After church we had lunch at my parent's house and then Sarah and my mom went to paint at a local art studio.  My mom has been taking some classes there.  This is what they painted on Sunday.  I think they did a great job!

Dan, Peter, and my brother watched the Panthers game while I napped.  After the game, I did three loads of laundry and worked on my grocery list.  And then we watched the Red Sox and the Patriots until I fell asleep.  I should have forced myself to stay up for the football game because it had a very exciting finish.  But I'm an old lady that needs her sleep! 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 41

It's a rainy Thursday here today thanks to Hurricane Michael.  We are supposed to get 3-6 inches today in our area.  That's our normal total average rainfall for the whole month of October - in one day.

But the good news is that after the rain clears out tonight, tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will be cool (high in the 60s) and sunny!

Here are just a few of the things I'm thankful for this week...

1. My best friend's son just got offered a paid summer internship with an excellent company!

2. A brilliant red cardinal flying past on grey and cloudy day.

3. My Keurig which faithfully delivers fresh, hot coffee to me every morning and sometimes in the afternoon too.

4. My 20-year-old washing machine which is cleaning a load of dirty clothes for me right now and the 20-year-old dryer that will be drying them.

5.  Carpool got switched around this week which means that I didn't have to drive a car full of kids to school in the pouring rain AND I don't have to drive next week either! 

6. Because I didn't drive car pool this morning and the weather is gross, I decided to stay in today and do my normal Thursday errands tomorrow.  A nice cozy day at home is always good for the soul.

7. Once I get the laundry done and dinner prepped, I'll be eating bonbons and watching This Is Us.  Well, technically I'll be eating leftovers for lunch and watching This Is Us but still.

8. Beautiful weekend weather means that Dan and Peter will be able to go on their Boy Scout camping trip and Sarah and I will be able to do some fun girly things.

9. I'm sure you've seen it already, but this meme made my day when it saw it.  Dan laughed at it too but the kids just rolled their eyes.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Updates and Instant Pot recipes.

We had a lovely weekend.  How about you?

On Friday night we headed to the football game.  Unfortunately, this week's game was also extremely lopsided but not in our favor this time. It's such a bummer...a close (or even closer) game is so much better. 

Peter and Sarah always have so much fun in "The Pit" with their friends.  The pit is where all the students sit.  The seniors sit on the first group of rows, followed by the juniors, next are the sophomores, and finally on the top rows of the bleachers are the freshman.

We are a very small school and there is no band, but  the seniors are in charge of chants and cheers and there's always this really strange horn blowing and my kids love it.  It's a nice way to spend a Friday night.  And the weather is still warm around here so it makes sitting outside at night enjoyable for  me - I hate to be chilly. 

This week is supposed to be much more October like - highs in the low 70s so I think my days of mid to upper 80s might be over until next year.  Oh well - that will give me something to look forward to!

On Saturday we did typical around-the-house stuff and then Dan and I went to Kohls.  We got on outfit for him that I think I might have him wear in our family pictures at the end of this month.  I say might because I'm not 100% sure.  I have Sarah's outfit picked out and the two colors in her outfit are the same as the two colors in Dan's but it feels too matchy- matchy.  Now I've got to figure out what Peter and I are going to wear.  Luckily I have 20 more days to get this sorted out!

On Sunday, Dan had a Boy Scout committee meeting after church and then he and I went out for a little afternoon date.  Since August Dan has been saying that he's going to miss our monthly Sunday night dates while the kids were at Confirmation class.  Sowe decided to just do it anyway even though the kids are already confirmed.  We headed to the restaurant we always used to go to, split an appetizer and had a drink.  We watched some football, talked about the kids, and just generally had a great time! 

Sarah had some weird issue going on with her eyes over the last month.  Her eyelids were red and puffy and then they would dry out and look like they were healing just to turn red and puffy and crusty all over again.  We tried coconut oil and Vaseline and then purchased some over-the-counter eye wipes.  Nothing was helping so we finally went to the doctor on Friday afternoon. 

The PA we saw said it might possibly be eczema so she gave us some samples of Eucrisa to try and she said that if that didn't clear it up then it was most likely an allergic reaction and she would refer us to the allergist.

Low and behold, we saw much improvement after just one application of the Eucrisa and now 3 days later her eye lids are almost as good as new!

I know you guys are wanting an Instant Pot update so here you go.  On Saturday I made ribs in the Instant Pot.  They were really good and only took an hour from start to finish which is so much better than the 3 plus hours it used to take following my old recipe.  The recipe I used is found here.  

And today for lunch, I made myself some wings in the Instant Pot.  They were really good too.  However, I should note that they did require time under the broiler so it wasn't super fast (total cook time was around 45 minutes) but they were actually really good considering they weren't fried in the deep fryer like the ones I love at my favorite place for wings. So I guess that makes them healthy!  :)  This is the recipe I used.  Please note, I just used the butter and hot sauce and omitted everything else from the sauce recipe.  I like a basic hot sauce and don't need all the other stuff to enjoy my wings

And I think that's about all I have to share for today.  We aren't even going to speak of the fact that the Red Sox are poised to blow their wonderful season by loosing to the New York Yankees in this series. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

I'm over it all - the politics and the driving around....

We had to go to Greensboro again last night. This time, there was a classical guitar concert at Guilford College and Peter was required to go for his guitar class. 

The performance was of The Walls written by Sergio Assad and this was the US debut of this piece of music. Sergio Assad was in attendance and it was performed by Bill Kanengise from USC.

From the Guilford College website:  "The Walls explores the human impact of four walls — the Great Wall of China, the United Kingdom’s Hadrian’s Wall, the Berlin Wall and Jerusalem’s West Bank Wall. As the music moves the audience through centuries and across borders, Sergio charges the performers, especially Bill, with transforming the guitar’s sound to embody different ethnic musical languages"

The music was lovely and some of the members of Peter's high school's guitar ensemble performed with the group.  It was nice to see one of his good friend up on stage.  And I appreciated the sentiment behind the music - which to me is basically you can put up a wall but it won't stop people from getting over it.

HOWEVER - as part of the program, they had 4 professors from Guilford College speak on each of the walls and other than the fact that it took up way to much time and added nothing to the music - it was extremely  political and I could have totally done without all of that. 

I understood what the music was trying to get across without the professors adding their own two cents.  It wasn't needed and in my mind it took away from the actual music and the  writer's message about music breaking down barriers.

Enough about that.

Peter has informed us that his religion group needs to get back together this weekend to work on another project so I guess I will be driving to High Point  and milling around there for a while.  Guess there's more Starbucks and Target in my future.

And I guess al of this driving is good because honestly, it is making me ready (gasp, I can't believe I said that!) for Peter to have his driver's license. I'm ready to retire the taxi sign from the top of my SUV.

We just need to find a decent automobile for him to drive.  But don't worry it's on my list of things to do so hopefully it will get checked off soon.  Although, things do tend to stay on my list for a while before they actually get checked off.  But as long as it's on the list, it will get done - eventually!
Bishop has a home football game tonight and the theme is Pink Out.  All the students will be wearing pink on support of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  So guess who was scouring all of Winston-Salem yesterday for cheap hot pink tee shirts?

FYI - Michael's for the win!!  $3.33 each. 

And with that, I've got to get the oil changed in  my car so I will leave you with this surprise rainbow from yesterday afternoon.  It was raining  nearby but not at our house so when I looked out the window I was pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 40

It's Thursday and here are a few of the things I'm thankful for this week:

1. Foggy mornings and my favorite tree:

2. Gorgeous sunrises.

3. Clean laundry.

4. An empty dishwasher.

5.Leftovers for lunch.

6. Parents that love to drive my kids around.

7. Good health.

8. A new episode of This Is Us waiting for me on the DVR.

9. Time spent with friends.

10. Checking things off my to-do list.

11. Indian summer.  I will be ready for cooler days at the end of this month but right now the mid to upper 80s is perfect!

12. And my blog friend Mary's book Be Brave In The Scared is available for pre-order on Amazon today!!  I just ordered my copy and I can not wait to read this book when it comes out!

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, October 1, 2018

All the weekend nuggets...

Happy OCTOBER!!  I'm announcing that as if you didn't know already.  October sneaked up on me so maybe it did the same to you and you are like me, scratching your head and wondering how it happened.

It's going to be beautiful weather here this week - low 80s.  That's perfect.  I just got back from the gym and the grocery store and the humidity is low and the sun is shining and if it stayed like this forever, I would not be mad.

In other news, since it is technically fall, I'm slowly pulling out the fall decorations.  Remember this:

Well, the greenery was looking a little limp so I cut some more from our bushes and added some golden rod.  It grows wild around here this time of the year and there just so happened to be some across the street from our house.  On Saturday, Dan and I clipped some and added it to my arrangement.  It looked so pretty and was the perfect late summer/early fall decoration.  I did not manage to take a picture before disaster stuck.

As we were clipping it, Dan mentioned that my Uncle David was allergic to golden rod. I thought nothing of it until yesterday while Peter was at the island working on his Eagle project when he sneezed.

Dan exclaimed, "I bet it's the golden rod!" 

I was hopeful that the sneeze was a one-and-done but nope.  Peter sneezed three more times and began rubbing his eyes.  Less than 5 minutes later his entire face was red and his eyes were swollen.  Benadryl was administered,I sent Dan outside with the offending allergen, and sent Peter upstairs to take a shower.

And I was left feeling bummed out because the free pop of yellow was gone my arrangement.  However, as I was driving home this morning, I noticed some yellow flowers (I think maybe Blacked-eyed Susan) so I'm hoping that I can spot some close to home and grab those.  Hopefully the boy won't be allergic to those as well.

In other news, I made this delicious dessert for Sunday lunch.

These Caramel Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars were a huge hit.  Even my husband who prefers chocolate desserts said they were really good and to make them again.  And my brother who doesn't eat dessert typically had some of this and said it was good. 

If you make them, please note, the crust won't be super hard when you are trying to spread the cream cheese filling over it so you will have to be gentle so as not to get the crust in the filling.  However, with a little patience you can get it accomplished and the crust hardens up when the whole thing is baking. 

Also, if you make this, you must use whipped cream and caramel sauce.  That's what made this bar dessert so yummy!(And mine looks nothing like the original but they were still good!)

Sarah had a busy weekend. Her Girl Scout troop held a yard sale on Friday night and Saturday (with a sleepover in between) and then after they were done and had toted the leftovers to Goodwill, they worked the chicken pie supper at the church that hosts their meetings.  And then because they had worked so hard over the last 24 hours, their leader took them out to dinner.  She loves the girls in her troop and her leaders and had a great time. She was tired though and spent most of yesterday doing homework.

Which reminds me, the reason she was still doing homework on Sunday even though the kids had a teacher workday on Friday was because Peter had to go to High Point to work on a religion project with some kids from his religion class.  He didn't know how long it was going to be so I told him I would stay nearby and get some coffee from Starbucks. (i didn't want to drive all the way home to just a text that he was done.) Sarah heard the word "Starbucks" and decided she wanted to go too.

We found a Target with a Starbucks and managed to kill an hour and a half.  He still wasn't finished so we found a T.J. Maxx and killed another hour and a half.  And then  he was done.  But by this time, it was 2:00 and we hadn't eaten lunch so we stopped for KFC - Peter's choice - and finally made it home a little after 3:00.  Then I had to load my car up with yard sale goodies and get Sarah to the sale.  All this to say, had we known it was going to take all day, Sarah would have stayed home to work on her homework and I would have milled around High Point alone. 

In other news, not sure I've mentioned it or not but Dan has lost 25 (probably closer to 30) pounds since April doing low carb.  I've been on and off the low carb wagon (mostly off) since January and have had no success.  Most likely due to the fact that I have been mostly off the diet. But his determination to stick with it has inspired me.  So, once again, I'm giving it a whirl.  I continue to lose and gain the same 5 pounds which isn't really doing anything to help me lose the 15 that I would like to lose.  So here I go again....Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 39

It's Thankful Thursday so let's go...

1.  My sweet husband.  He had to come home from a long day of work and the immediately went to the basement to fix a clog in the heat pump which was causing water to leak all of the basement floor.

2. And then after fixing the clog in the pump, we had to rescue a hummingbird that was trapped in our garage.  Poor dumb bird kept flying up and into the ceiling instead of out the giant open garage door.  It had been in there at least three hours. After failed attempts at making a "net" out of a table cloth and two broom sticks, we found success with a giant dust broom and thankfully after 30 minutes of trying were able to get the bird out of the garage.  And THEN, at 8:30, my sweet tired husband was able to sit down and relax.

3. I had lunch with my bestie yesterday.

4. I've been slowly marking things off my to-do list.  This week I knocked out a couple more closets. Well, not knocked them out but cleaned them out.  It's always a good feeling to open a closet door and be able to find what you are looking for.

5.  Sarah's Girl Scout troop is having a yard sale this weekend and that was the main driver in the two closets being cleaned out.  :)   I love her troop and am very thankful for them - yard sale or not!

6. Homecoming is over and a good time was had by all.

7.  I'm slowly learning to use my Instant Pot.

8.  Fall TV!  Yes, I 'm thankful that the new shows are starting up.

9.Selfies with my sweetie.

10. Dinner time.  We always try to have dinner together every night. I love this time together. There's usually laughter, arguing, complaining, discussions on who did what at school, and more.  Even though cooking is not my forte, I am always thankful when we are all gathered around the table together.

12. A sweet friend and her husband who towed our old undriveable car to the scrap yard for us.  They went above and beyond with their offer to help us.  I'm so lucky and thankful to have such good friends!

11.  Ebates and cash back! Every time I shop online, I check Ebates first to see if I can order through them.  It's simple - I have a link in my toolbar that usually pops up when I'm in an online store asking me if I want to activate a code. Of course I do.  I just bought some shirts online for my brother and I'm getting $8 back from Ebates.  EIGHT DOLLARS - not eight points.  Actual dollars.

They mail me a check at the end of every month.  If you haven't already signed up with Ebates do it now with my code and I get some extra cash back.  The holiday season will be here before you know it so why don't you get into the habit of using Ebates now to maximize your cash back!  Who among us is not thankful for cash?!

What are you guys thankful for this week?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My initial thoughts on the Instant Pot.

My parents got me an Instant Pot for my birthday.  I was very excited to receive it but  I have to admit, I was a little intimidated. 

I started out by boiling some eggs.  The pot wheezed and steamed and I was paranoid the entire time that the lid was going to shoot off and leave a hole in the ceiling.  They turned out fine except one cracked and the lid stayed on the pot and I felt a little better.

I boiled more eggs a couple of days after that and everything was find and dandy. They were perfect.  And other than the speed with which you can boil the eggs, the other fabulous benefit is that the Instant Pot eggs are so easy to peel.  You can literally peel them with one hand! 

Dan has been eating low carb since spring and loves deviled eggs.  Whenever I would make them in a regular pot of boiling water, I would get so frustrated because it took me FOREVER to get them peeled.  And in my frustration, I would end up losing some of the whites or large chunks would be missing.  They were some homely looking deviled eggs. That problem has disappeared with the Instant Pot.

Last night Ifinally tried a real recipe and it was fabulous!   Carne Asada Street Tacos from Happy Mothering. 

This picture is from her blog (obviously) because we were too busy eating them to be snapping pictures!

The meat was sooooo delicious and tender.  Everyone scarfed them up.  I served them with creama (sour cream mixed with lime juice and a little salt), avocado slices, and pico de gallo that I purchased pre-made from Aldi.  On the side we had Mexi-Corn (corn kernels that I sauteed in olive oil and then I add mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lime juice, and chili powder.  It tastes almost as good as the Mexican Street Corn Dan and I had on our honeymoon.) and Spanish rice. 

So good!  I will definitely be making this again! 

After my first shaky attempt at making hard boiled eggs, I watched quite a few YouTube videos on getting to know your Instant Pot.  I found that very helpful.  I've a visual person so being able to see someone using the pot and explaining it as they went along was beneficial.

So if you are new to the Instant Pot world, I recommend watching some YouTube videos first.  Then trying something very simple like hard boiled eggs and then trying this Carne Asada taco recipe.

And a little FYI...It does take some time for the cooker to come up to pressure so factor that in when you are making a recipe.  If a recipe calls for cook time of 10 minutes and a  natural pressure release time of 15 minutes, your total time will not be 25 minutes.

It will take the cooker some time to come to pressure.  It's kind of like the time it takes the oven to preheat.  The quantity of liquid and the temperature of the contents in the pot will determining the amount of time required to reach the right pressure for cooking. With the carne asada I cooked last night, it probably took the pot about 8 to 10 minutes to reach pressure and then start cooking.

Do you have an Instant Pot?  If so, what are some of your favorite recipes? Please share!

Monday, September 24, 2018

HOCO 2018 Pictures!

This weekend went by in a blur!

We attended the football game on Friday night and our team won by a landslide. (Honestly, it would have been better if the game was closer.  Winning by a large margin just means you feel bad about winning and you feel equally  bad for the other team.)

On Saturday, Sarah got up early (for her) and her bestie Cheyanne came over to do her nails.  Cheyanne did a great job on Sarah's toenails and fingernails.  In fact, she did such a great job that I am considering hiring her myself! 

Sarah curled her hair by herself because I've got no skills and also applied her own make up because I've got no skills and before we knew it, it was time to pick up her date and head to the botanical gardens for pictures.

There were about 30 kids in the group Sarah was going with so pictures were kind of chaotic.  We waited for everyone to get there and many of the parents were meeting each other for the first time.  I only knew two of the other kids in this group so there was a lot of handshaking and being introduced to people whose names I've already forgotten.

Then the kids broke off into pairs so parents could capture the exchanging of flowers and then after that was done, we had to do group pictures.  None of my pictures are that great.  There was one dad there that is a semi-professional photographer but I don't know him and I didn't get a chance to talk to him so I don't even know his name to stalk his facebook page.  Oh well.  I guess the pictures I took will have to do.

After pictures, the kids went to dinner and then then dance.  Sarah texted me at the end of the night that she had a great time and by the sounds of it yesterday, her first homecoming dance was a success!

On Sunday we drove to Greensboro and picked her up from her sleepover and headed to church and then lunch. (Dan and I said that we have been to Greensboro more in the last week than we have in the last 10 years!)  And then I came home and took a nap, watched the Panthers game, and then the Patriots game and just like that it's Monday again!

Here are some of the pictures we took of my sweet Sarah, her friend Oscar, and the rest of her HOCO 2018 crew!