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Thursday, December 22, 2022

He's on his way! (And I don't mean Santa.)

For the last two weeks, Dan has been in Ireland for work.  So even though my babies came home, he has been gone.  BUT!  He is currently on a plane home and hopefully will be home late tonight if all goes well!

I have purchased and wrapped all presents...although there are two more still to be delivered.  One will most likely not make it so a wrapped picture of the gift will have to suffice.  

I always love memes like this one because they are so accurate:

Well, at least they are accurate in this household!  :)

The kids are missing Dan but they have been keeping busy.  Peter and his friends went bowling one night and then to see the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood another night and he's been doing some work to earn a little extra money.  He's also been watching football and basketball games online as well as playing video games with friends.  He also had a dentist appointment, an allergist appointment and today will get his truck inspected.  

Sarah spent the weekend with her boyfriend's family at their lake house so they could get to know her and last night the two of them went to dinner, saw the lights at Tanglewood and exchanged presents.  And mostly she's just enjoying having no schoolwork to do!

Speaking of school work:  I'm proud to report that Sarah made the Chancellor's list (straight A's baby!) and Peter made the Dean's List!  So very proud of these two kiddos.  💓  I know I've mentioned it before but I still constantly ask for the intercessory prayers of St. Joseph of Cupertino.  Praying for my kids as they are studying and working hard at school is the one thing (the main thing!) I can do to help them.

I joined my mom and my aunt and uncle and we toured Korner's Folly.  It was decorated for Christmas and was so beautiful.  Then we enjoyed a delicious lunch at J. Pepper's.  It was so nice to get to spend time with them!


It's such a cold and dreary day here.  I'm finishing my third cup of coffee and I think it's finally time to get those last couple of gifts wrapped, those last couple of errands run, and get started on some food items I'm serving on Christmas Eve.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Considering it took me a week and a half to write, there's not much here....

***Editor's Note: I started writing this blog post last week trying to be a good blogger and yet here we are on Wednesday and I'm just finishing it up!  Oh well!***

It has been so rainy and dreary here all week.  Looks like the weekend will be the same but there's hope for some sun on Monday! And the kids will both be home for Christmas at some point next week (hopefully by Wednesday) so things are looking up!

I'm still Christmas shopping but I hope to have that all wrapped up ("wrapped up" meaning purchased, absolutely nothing will be wrapped) by next week.  

On Tuesday, my Care Group celebrated Christmas.  We ordered food in and talked and unwrapped presents.  It was like Christmas morning!

I'm the one unintentionally hiding in the back!  :)

It was brought to my attention by my blogging friend Suz, that I had a  typo in my last post.  I meant to say that I have to wear the Invisalign 20-22 hours per DAY not per WEEK.  Thank you, Suz! It takes a village to keep me on my blogging toes!

Speaking of Invisalign... I had my first follow-up appointment this week and I got the rest of my trays.  I also got some adorable little knobs glued to each of my teeth so that the trays able to apply more pressure to my teeth to get them to move.  While this may be beneficial for getting my teeth to move, now it really feels like I have braces because I can always feel these little knobs and when the tray is in my mouth it definitely looks like something is on my teeth.  You know how kids are always moving their lips over their teeth when they first get their braces?  Well, that's me now.  Hopefully the constant lip movement will cease once I get used to them.  I will hopefully be done with this by September.  But don't worry - I will not be talking about my teeth in every single blog post.  

*****Here's where last week's post ended and now we are current.****

I feel like we are back in current time, I should update that I did almost complete my shopping but you know how when you are wrapping you realize you forgot something or meant to get something else?  Yeah - that's where we are now.  But there's still 10 days until Christmas Eve so I'm feeling pretty good about everything.

 Our garden is still producing!  On a whim earlier in the fall, Dan planted beets and carrots! There's still quite a few of them out there and I just head outside and grab some when I'm making dinner and need a side.  

In other food news, I had a bag of Brussels sprouts in the fridge wasting away.  I like them but no one else does (and in our empty nest phase, the "no one else" is Dan). So I decided to throw them in the food processor and then I put them in the skillet with some olive oil, balsamic, dried cranberries, and bacon bits and used them as a base for my salmon.  It was really good and I will definitely make this again for lunch!

What's everyone watching on Netflix or HBO Max?  I need some suggestions.  Has anyone watched White Lotus?  What are your thoughts? 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Outtakes, Invisalign, and Salmon

I'm trying to get back into regular blogging.  I guess with the kids not being around it feels like nothing exciting is going on here - which is probably a good thing because I do like things calm and quiet. But calm and quiet doesn't necessarily make for entertaining blog reading.

Last weekend, before the kids headed back to school, we headed to Old Salem to attempt to get a decent picture for the Christmas card.  We took my brother along and he used my DSLR to take some pictures.  It was windy and very sunny which meant there were a lot of pictures that looked like this:

And these are just a few of the outtakes!  The shadows, the blowing hair, the weird facial expressions! I am laughing so hard at these right now.  But, believe it or not, we got a couple of decent ones for the card.  

Look at my cute mug!  I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and found some Starbucks K-Cups that are peppermint mocha flavored.  They are very good and actually taste very similar to a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks - but much less expensive and contain way less calories and fat.  That's a win-win in my book!

I got Invisalign  last week.  As you can see in the photo above, my top teeth no longer touch on my bottom teeth and it is making biting into things extremely difficult.  I struggle to eat sandwiches, burgers, or anything with more than one soft layer of something to bite into. It has gotten exceedingly worse in the last few years so I decided to bit the bullet (ha!) and do something about it.  

The first week of wearing them hasn't been the worst but it is going to be a learning curve for sure.  I have a bad habit of forgetting to put them back in after I eat. I'm supposed to wear them 20-22 hours per day and that's doable...unless I forget to put them back in.  And then there's the hassle of having to brush my teeth before I put them back in.  And the added bonus that I'm paranoid about getting cavities  so now I'm brushing after every meal/snack/drink and  flossing after every meal and snack so that's fun (and time consuming).  I'm hoping it's all worth it in the end.

This is a picture of my new favorite lunch meal:  

I coat a frozen salmon filet with Tajin on both sides and toss it in the air fryer on 400 for 10 minutes (or until the salmon reaches 145 degrees in the thickest part) and then throw that salmon on top of some rice (or if I'm being really healthy cauliflower rice) and some steamed veggies.  And than I drizzle it with sriracha sauce and Kewpie mayo and it's delicious!

So, tell please share with me your healthy but delicious lunch ideas. I'm always on the lookout for something flavorful and filling so do share.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Such a lovely week!

Last week was a really good one!  Sarah's professors cancelled Tuesday classes so she came home late Monday afternoon.  It was so good to have my baby home. Peter had classes on Tuesday and had social events to attend Tuesday evening so he came home on Wednesday morning.  It was so good to have my baby home.

I had a hair appointment on Wednesday morning, and the kids both had appointments on Wednesday afternoon.  Dan went into the office on Monday and Tuesday but worked from home on Wednesday. It was so nice to have a house full of noise and activity again even if it was just for a week! We even had a chance to sit around the fire pit together on Wednesday evening.  There's nothing better than a fire, some good songs, and my family all together.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day.  The Wallers joined us again and we feasted on  jalapeno dip, turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, hash brown casserole, broccoli casserole, slaw, deviled eggs, homemade cranberry sauce, carrot cake, cream horns, chess pie, and eclairs.  It was all so delicious but having everyone home (even all of Jennifer's kids were able to come home!) and together on Thanksgiving was the best part.


On Friday morning, we headed to the mountains to get our Christmas tree.  We tried a new place and were very happy with it.  They had a great selection in the size we wanted. We picked it out, flagged down a guy with a chain saw, he cut it, took it down the mountain for us, bailed it, and we strapped it to the top of the car and off we went!  No fuss, no muss!  Just the way I like it.

Sarah had plans with her boyfriend Friday night and Peter was watching the NC State football game so we decorated the tree Saturday. Dan had put the lights on Friday night (that's his job) and then I started working on it Saturday morning while the kids were still in bed.  Sarah got up and added her favorite ornaments and then much later in the day (after more football watching) Peter added his.  I like it when we all decorate the tree together but as the family ages, the traditions shift and change and you have to be prepared to shift and change with them.

On Saturday evening, we all went to Mass together and came home and had dinner.  Then Sarah left to hang out with the Basement.  Dan, Peter, and I watched more football and then we watched School of Rock. 

On Sunday, we had lunch at mom's and then headed to Old Salem with my brother to get some family pictures for the Christmas card.  It was windy and Peter's allergies were acting up and he was sneezing like crazy but I think we got some good shots. We had fun anyway!

And then the kids left and it was just me and Dan and the cats.  I told Dan I had finally adjusted to it being just the two of us and then the kids come home for a week and now I'm missing them all over again.  But don't despair! In just a few weeks, they will be home for several weeks and the cycling of adjusting to them being gone, and enjoying them being home, and missing them when they are gone, will happen all over again.  But, I guess that's life. I'm just going to keep going with the flow!

Monday, November 14, 2022

I'm still here!

Yes, I'm still alive! It's been a MONTH since my last post but I've been busy!

I worked as an election official again and that has kept me occupied.  If you will recall, I worked the polls in 2020, again during the primaries this past spring, and since I still haven't landed a job, I worked the midterms.  

The gig lasted from October 20th to November 8th.  The days were long.  The polls opened at 8:00 and closed at 7:30 and since we have to open and close, that's a 12 hour day.  And for the most part, we all worked the full day.  But I did take two days off so don't feel too bad for me.  :)  

Our polling site voted 5600 people in that two and a half week period and another 750 on election day.  (This wasn't nearly as many as 2020 but it kept us on our toes and we had less workers than we did in 2020 so we were all tired at the end of each day.)

On one of my days off, Dan and I headed to Charlotte for Parent's Weekend.  We met up with Sarah and two of her new friends and one of their fathers for some tailgating before the football game! 

After the football game, we took a nice long walk around campus.  I know it's been 30 years since I graduated from UNC Charlotte but I still can not get over how much it has changed! 

After walking around campus, we headed downtown for Mass at St. Peter's and then dinner at Haberdish.  What a great restaurant this was!  We split this appetizer:

It was the PB&J Bacon plate which consisted of thick cut bacon, maple peanut butter, pepper jelly, and cabbage jalapeno slaw in a banana vinaigrette.  I know it sounds odd but we all thoroughly enjoyed it!

Everything we got was delicious and we would definitely go back! (Dan said it's the best fried chicken he's ever had at a restaurant - and he gets friend chicken A LOT!)

Dan is trying to use up extra vacation days so he took last Monday off and we headed back to Asheville. (Yes, we just went there with the kids in September but Asheville is a really cute town and it is a lovely drive so we headed back.)

We tried to visit the Basilica of St. Lawrence but we just missed the tour hours.  Guess that means we need to head back to Asheville again! 

After lunch and a walk through town, we headed over to Mt. Mitchell.  Mt. Mitchell is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River.  We took the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the views. The leaves had already peaked but enjoyed the scenery regardless.  

Look!  On our way up to Mt. Mitchell, we spotted these three bears on the side of the road.  They were literally feet from us. Everyone was slowing down to make sure no one hit them!  And on our way back down the mountain, we spotted another bear!  

This past Thursday, Sarah headed to Raleigh with three of her new friends.  It was one of the girl's birthday and her father's company has box seats at the Carolina Hurricanes games and all the girls got to go! Sarah was so exited.  The Hurricanes won and the box they sat in was really cool.


One of the girls lives in Raleigh so they all went back to her house to spend the  night.  The next day they hung out with her family and then Friday night, Sarah took her new friends to meet Joe, her boyfriend, who goes to NC State.  She had a great weekend and I'm so happy she is enjoying life right now!

Peter had a great weekend too. On Friday night he and one of his roommates cooked dinner - pork chops with rice and beans. The gravy is a mixture of Italian dressing and soy sauce. He said it was delicious! I love it when he texts me pictures of things he's cooked.

On Saturday, he went to the NC State football game.  It's the last home game of the season. Sadly they lost, but he still had a great time.  He and his friends had really good seats.  They made the Jumbotron multiple times and he got to see Tuffy (the mascot dog up close).  


This is Tuffy with his trainer:

And then Sunday was Peter's 20th birthday!   He was texting me Saturday night after the game that he only had an hour and half left of being a teenager. And that's when it hit me that not only am I old, but he's also old - an actual full grown adult.  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that still. 

But he'll always be my baby!  :)

Dan left for Ireland on Saturday afternoon but on Sunday I headed to Raleigh with my mom and my brother to celebrate Peter's birthday.  We had lunch at an Italian restaurant downtown called Gravy.  It was really good! We started with the Risotto Balls appetizer:

And I had a salmon salad with candied hazelnuts. It was so good!

After lunch we went back to his apartment to unwrap gifts.

One of the things I got Peter was an ugly Christmas sweater.  He was super excited and tried it on immediately!

Mom took Peter a bunch of cupcakes that he shared with all of his roommates and then the pledges came over and made dinner.  They had kebabs, cheesy potatoes, jalapeno poppers and brownies.  I think Peter had a pretty nice birthday!

And that's pretty much what we've been up to the last month.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Fall Break 2022

Peter and Sarah were both on fall break Monday and Tuesday!  But did they rush home to be with their mother?

Um, that would be a big NO! But that's okay.  I always tell them that whenever they want to come home, they are welcome and they can stay for as long or as short as they want.  I am happy to get them whenever I can.

So Friday Sarah stayed at school to attend the Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Dance Party at a club in Charlotte and had a blast.  She sent me this cool picture of Charlotte all lit up pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Peter stayed in Raleigh and went with his fraternity (and another NC State frat and sorority) to UNC Chapel Hill to attend a mixer with some of the greeks from there.  He said he had a really good time. And then he stayed on Saturday to attend the NC State/FSU football game.  
Sarah came home on Saturday and immediately went to Kernersville to meet a friend for lunch.  She made it home in time to join us for Mass.

Peter came home on Sunday in time for lunch at Mom's and then we went to Walgreens for our flu shots. (Hmmmm...and I wonder why the kids don't want to spend all their time with me.)

Dan and Peter and I spent the rest of Sunday watching football while Sarah met the Basement in Kernersville.  They golfed 9 holes and had dinner together.  (And for the record, I think Sarah mostly drove the golf cart but she said she did hit some balls.)

Dan decided to take Monday off since the kids were home.  We drove to Asheville and had lunch at Pack's Tavern. It was really good.  

Then we walked around downtown Asheville before heading to Chimney Rock

The views were gorgeous and we had a really nice afternoon here and then headed home.  After dinner, Sarah hung out with Cheyanne and Dan, Peter, and I watched more football.

On Tuesday, Peter had lunch with Colton and got his hair cut and Sarah hung out with one of her friends all afternoon.  Then they both headed back to their respective schools and Dan and I went to the park to walk two miles. And just like that, fall break was over.

And yes, I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving break when I will get to see both of them again!